Nov 25th — (Throwback episode!) After spending years pursuing a career in science, Lynne Tye (@lynnetye) shocked her family and colleagues by dropping out of grad school. Thus began a months-long journey of discovery and experimentation that eventually saw her managing 150 people at a high-profile tech startup. But when Lynne realized the fast-paced startup lifestyle was not for her, she quit that, too, and began her search all over again. In this episode, Lynne shares the story behind how she took her career into her own hands, learned to code, and started a business doing what she loves. Transcript, speaker information, and more: https://www.indiehackers.com/podcast/086-lynne-tye-of-key-values
Nov 23rd — Every doctor is concerned about your vital signs, but a good doctor cares about your overall health. Your website deserves the same care, and Hey Check It is here to help - Hey Check It is a website performance monitoring and optimization tool - Goes beyond just core web vitals to give you a full picture on how to optimize your website to give your users an optimal, happy experience - Includes AI-generated SEO data, accessibility scanning and site speed checks with suggestions on how to optimize, spelling and grammar checking, custom sitemaps, and a number of various tools to help you Start a free trial today at heycheckit.com AUTOMATED TRANSCRIPT Colleen Schnettler 0:00 Good morning, Michelle. Hey, Colleen, it's early here in California. But I am here for you. Michele Hansen 0:42 It's late here in Denmark, it is dark. It is not even five. Unknown Speaker 0:47 My goodness. Colleen Schnettler 0:48 So I think this week, I would like to talk to something I talk about something a little more serious. And I want to talk about you. Because you have been going through some stuff. Michele Hansen 1:02 Yeah, I have. It kind of occurred to me this week that I I don't I don't know, I might be going through burnouts. Or at least I have, like, way too much stress. Like, like, I feel like I'm DDoSing myself. Colleen Schnettler 1:22 I love that line, by the way. So first of all, I guess your best friend and podcast host has been telling you this for like eight months. Michele Hansen 1:33 Like, we're like you're gonna burn out. I'm like, I'm fine. And then our friends of ours were like, you know, after like, I launched something like, you know, especially infoproduct people, they're like, I went through like a depression after that I really burned out like, and I was like, I hear you but like, I'm special. I'm not gonna that's not gonna happen to me. You know, all think we're special. We all think we're special. And we all are special. But there are also things that everyone goes through. Um, yeah, I have so much going on in my life right now. And, and I think this, I mean, I Okay, so you've known this for a long time. But like, I I think it really started to become apparent to me that like, given everything I'm doing I have really like down prioritized taking care of myself. That was something I got really thinking about at founder Summit. And it's not just like a work life balance problem or a, you know, need to like join a gym problem. Like, I think it's like, bigger than that. But I don't really know, like, how do you unburn out? How do you do though? Colleen Schnettler 2:43 Let's take a step back. When you say you haven't deprioritize taking care of yourself, what did you use to do that? You don't do like you have stopped doing over the past year. And like what led to that. I'm curious how you got to where you are. Michele Hansen 3:00 I mean, so I really don't first of all, like I really don't work out as much like and I used to be someone who was like super active, like, I used to run to work, bike to work, play tennis, do gymnastics, soccer on top of that, like super, super active and have really become less active. And I don't know if that's the pandemic or like moving countries and my habits like change, you know, you have to establish entirely new habits. As I was talking to people about it founder summit who are nomads, they were saying that they didn't realize until COVID and they were forced to stay in one place. how stressful it had been to like, move places every couple of months and have to like refigure it all over again. Like oh, like where's the grocery store that I like? And like, can I get the food I like and you know, where's the gym that I like? Where can I work? Like all those kinds of like basic everyday questions become sort of stressful. Like I definitely feel like that like I didn't go to the dentist for 18 months. Mostly because it's like so like hack I have a package I've been trying to mail for three months and I'm just so overwhelmed by the idea of like figuring out the Danish postal system that it's still sitting at my desk. So like basic everyday things become really overwhelming when you're abroad. Yeah, I think like one of my habits changed but then I think I just have so much going on also that like you know I think the great thing about working for yourself is like if you want to take an hour lunch break and read a book like you can do that but like I have been feeling like I don't even have time to eat I don't have time to make myself healthy food like the idea of just like even cooking a piece of salmon or whatever like seems overwhelming and so like I have really allowed my health to like totally slip because I just feel like I don't have time for it but I also don't have those like sort of habit triggers I guess that I used to have you know if I was in my environment I was in you know, do Two years ago, for sure. And I think with everything that I have going on, that's like become really acute. Colleen Schnettler 5:09 So and you would lump. I mean, that's your physical health. But also you said you don't read books for pleasure. I mean, I think that's what you just said. So that's not that's your whole, not just do it like I do. Okay. Yeah. I mean, have you also, like, what about your, your mental health are you also are you still not having time to do the things you used to love that brought you joy. Michele Hansen 5:33 So I differentiate that, and I think this is like I've been, you know, so I'm obviously not an expert in this, I'm just somebody who's going through differentiating between burnout and depression, where, like, I actually feel like my mental health is pretty good. Like I've done I've done a lot of work on my mental health the past couple of years. Um, and, you know, depression is like, when you try to, you know, you try to get the energy to do the things that you liked, and then you don't get any enjoyment out of it, it's like the dopamine just doesn't even fire. Or if it does, it only lasts for a second. So whereas you know, a non depressed person, maybe you can go for a walk, and, and then you or you see a friend, and it kind of brightens you for the rest of the day, and at least helps you get through it. You know, when I've gone through depression, it's like, that enjoyment you get from that, like, you get like 30 seconds of enjoyment out of it, and then it's just gone. And you even feel worse than you did before, because you were expecting to make you feel good. And then it didn't, and then it just like spirals. I'm not in that state right now. It's more just like this constant feeling of stress. And like, I don't have enough time for anything. And feeling exhausted by that constant stress. But it's also not anxiety, either. Because an idea I guess I'm not I don't really know how to explain this. But like it's, it's not like worrying. And it's not like a tension, or No, I don't, I don't know how to explain it. But yeah, it's kind of it's gotten me to Google X. It's like, I don't know what this feeling is. And then I kind of, you know, I mentioned it to some friends of ours. And they're like, that's, that's the burnout. We were telling you was going to happen. And I'm like, oh, and then I'm like, so like, what is like the plan to like, get out of this? Like, is there like, what does your schedule look like when you were getting out of burnout? They're like, yeah, that's kind of like, you're trying to, like, make a schedule of it. Like, right. And one of our friends was, like, I Googled, you know, how to be a type B personality when I was going through. Unknown Speaker 7:49 It's amazing. Michele Hansen 7:51 Um, yeah, but I think it's kind of it's kind of weird. I was like, I don't even talk about this on the podcast, because it's like, I don't have a solution here. You know, I almost feel like, you know, I should have some sort of solution to give people but I don't I'm just kind of stuck in the middle of it. And, and just sort of talking it out, because I also, I don't, I feel like if people heard met, people mentioned, like having burnout, but like, and I guess if people know of like a good podcast or blog posts on the experience of burnout and how someone got through it, I would really love to read that. Because I feel like we don't really talk about it enough. So I'm kind of, I guess, trying to talk about it as a way of giving visibility to this thing that it turns out, a lot of my entrepreneur friends have gone through. Colleen Schnettler 8:46 Yeah, well, I think it's, I mean, as much as you're comfortable, I think it's good that you're talking about it. I you know, the one of the things. One of my takeaways from founder summit was I actually talked to quite a few people who went through massive burnout. And it seems to be just something that happens to us in our field in modern day, a lot, probably because we can work anywhere at any time. So we could theoretically be working all the time. But also, I, again, I think it's I'm sure it's a very personal journey to get out of it. But I feel like you need to take like, a month off. Let's talk about that. Michele Hansen 9:26 Yeah, and I think that's really where I'm struggling because I feel like I can't and but I'm also sort of, you know, somebody who's drowning and like, people are saying, hey, stop flailing. And I'm like, no, no, no, no, no, that like, and that just makes me panic even more. But like, so where I, you know, the stuff I have going on, like, you know, so we have to co do and like, I want to stress that like, I still really enjoy working on geocode do and I think actually Mateus and I were talking about this last night, and he's like, you know, we've been running this for almost eight years. And he's like, I'm even still surprised that we still find it interesting, we still find it challenging, we still enjoy working on it we enjoy the customers we work with, we enjoy, you know, helping them and like, it's still a problem we're really, like, excited about solving. And, you know, it does not feel like a drag. And so like, so I have to do going on. Of course, there's this podcast and all of my book stuff and like, and that's a joy. But also, I've been putting pressure on myself to sell it when I don't really have to, like, you know, like that. Like, there's not like I purposely didn't pitch it to a publisher, I purposefully didn't want someone telling me, you need to sell this many books, and you need to go out on this book tour and like, do all these things like I wanted that, you know, that decision for myself of how much time I spent on it. But now I'm in this situation where I feel like I have to justify all the time I spent on it some spending all this time promoting it. So Colleen Schnettler 10:56 let's go back. So yeah, so my my business partners, you haven't even gotten through the whole list. But sure, yeah. Okay, so let's go back a little bit. So my business partner Sean has, in the past experienced incredible, massive burnout. And one of the things he said to you yesterday was, like, the number one symptom of burnout is thinking, you can't work less. Like, there's no way around it, I can't solve this problem, because I cannot work less. So I challenge that, first of all, okay, but I don't know if we're here to problem solve, or if we're just here to talk. So Michele Hansen 11:32 we're kind of a mix of both. But I mean, so I think so here, let me get through the full list of things. Colleen Schnettler 11:36 Okay, keep going. So just to go do, Michele Hansen 11:38 there is what I term my extracurriculars, which is the book like this podcast being on other podcasts, like, you know, the fun business stuff. Um, and then there's also I'm in Danish class all day, Monday and Friday. Right. And then also, I have a family and, you know, another stressors on top of that is, you know, I'm in a foreign country, and, you know, again, talking to people founder Summit, you know, talking to other people who moved abroad, during the pandemic, there was a universal Zero out of 10, do not recommend on that. And then also, you know, we're in a pandemic, so like, there's all sorts of reasons to be burned out. But then the reason why I feel like I can't do less is because like, just I mean, quite frankly, like, for immigration reasons, like I have to be in Danish class, and I have to be working full time. And so I'm squeezing in basically, a full work week, you know, on the edges on Monday and Friday, and then working as much as I can, to say, Wednesday, Thursday, plus, you know, like, replying, the email, you know, when I wake up in the morning, and you know, at night, you know, normal entrepreneur, lack of boundaries with email stuff. And so like, that's why I feel like I can't work less because like, my life necessitate necessitates that I'm in language school twice a week, which feels like a part time job. And then, like, just for legal immigration reasons, like I have to be working full time at the same time. So I feel kind of backed into a corner almost. And then so then, like, the last thing to let go, because obviously, I can't drop family off of that. I guess one benefit of being somewhere where I don't really have a lot of friends in daily life is it like social is, you know, there's, there's zero there. So there's really nothing to drop. But I'm like this, doing this podcast and the book and everything. Like, that's the easiest stuff to fall back on. But that's the thing I like, really enjoying. And so I guess I could sensibly work less and not do this, but like, I quite enjoy this. And like, I enjoy talking to people on their podcasts. And I enjoy doing stuff about my book, and I enjoy talking to you and doing this podcast. And so like, so the only thing I'm left with is, you know, the taking away the thing I enjoy the most and I, you know, like, I wish I could only be in Danish class one hour a week, but that's just not an option. And I think that's the thing. That's the biggest drag on myself. But also there's just the general I mean, stress of the pandemic, right, like, you know, you've probably heard that Europe, several European countries are locking down again, like so it's like, are we facing another lockdown, where I have to balance between working and feeling like a bad parent, because I'm like, you know, balancing homeschooling and working and everything. And so that's like, even stressing me out even more because it's like, Oh, my God, I have to get even more out of each day when I already feel like I'm getting trying to get so much out of each day. And I think just all of that is just kind of making me feel just sort of stressed and exhausted. Just like Colleen Schnettler 14:57 that's a lot. I mean, especially the foreign country. To me, we move to California. And it's so annoying slash stressful. Find a new doctors and dentists. And we're in the same country, they still speak English, Michele Hansen 15:08 they tend you're in like constant sunlight. Oh, that makes a Colleen Schnettler 15:12 huge difference. By the way, everyone should move to California, because I'm happy every day because the sun is shining every day. But no, that's a lot, Michelle. I mean, you end this has been so prolonged for you, right? Because it was the pandemic, and then you move to a foreign country. That was that was a lot to take on at once you left your friends you left, you know, the place where you were comfortable and you loved you left the language. You left the healthcare system, like everything that that was really American healthcare system you Michele Hansen 15:42 like it's, it's terrible, but at least at least they knew how it worked. Yeah, at least you know how to go to the doctor, I could go to the doctor and feel confident I could communicate with the brain. But I wasn't like going, like practicing, you know? How to say, you know, yes, sure. I floss my teeth. You know? Colleen Schnettler 16:03 The change over the past? Gosh, is it been two, three years now? How long has this pandemic been going on? The, the amount of stress you have taken on is tremendous. And I feel for you, because it's just it sounds really, really hard. Michele Hansen 16:29 And everybody who said they went through burnout, like they're like, the thing I did was, you know, I fired all my clients, and I didn't work for two months. Yeah, or I didn't work for a year, like I just lived on savings for a year. And I'm like, I don't feel I can do that. And like also, like people, like, you know, I traveled or whatever. And it's like, I have a family. So I can't just like do nothing all day. Like, even if I wanted to, like I have responsibilities like that, you know, do not change regardless of how I'm feeling. And then, like, legally, I have to be working. And so I feel I mean, I don't know, Colleen Schnettler 17:10 it sounds to me like you feel stuck, or trapped. Yeah. And the situation super Michele Hansen 17:14 stuck. And I don't know how to get unstuck. Colleen Schnettler 17:19 So it seems like the first step is decrease your stress level. Yes. I mean, here's the thing, you're in the middle of it. And so don't freak out. But let's just let's just think outside the box. Okay. So you're in the middle of this super, super high, intense, stressful situation. But I'm going to still say that a lot of it is of your own making. And yeah. And I understand that you don't want to give up the book promo, or you don't want to do our podcast less because these are things you really enjoy. But your health, you know, has to be your happiness. That should be number one. Michele Hansen 18:02 But like why do I take away the things that make me happy? Oh, I Colleen Schnettler 18:06 didn't say take them away. You aren't ready for Collins great ideas. Oh, God, what is Collins great ideas. Okay, so I'm just gonna throw these things out there not to scare you. Just to and I don't want you to problem solve or tell me why you can't do them. Just to show you that. Like, there are options even if they seem absolutely crazy. Okay, Michele Hansen 18:28 are you ready? Okay, okay, I will I will play along. Okay, just play along with Romani. Okay, Colleen Schnettler 18:33 you could move back to the United States. Now listen, one, okay, could sell geocoder do and take two years off and you don't work at all. You could hire someone to be you. And I know the onboarding of that you had you don't want it. You've told me a million times. I know you don't want to hire someone. But if you could get a system in place where you only work, you don't have to work on geocode do you'd still be working full time in the eyes of the Danish government? But you yourself wouldn't have to be managing the contracts and putting in the hours. There's like they don't you know as long as you're they think you're working ish. The full I have to Michele Hansen 19:12 be working. Hello. Danish government people listening. Colleen Schnettler 19:17 I wait. I mean, I would be working because you would be managing okay, you would be working. Because you would be managing a person who was doing the things for you? What if you just stopped doing what would happen? If you did nothing for God? Oh, except like legally required things like, like, you What if you just on your website, you go to your website today? You say we are not taking any more customers for six months. Shut it down. I mean, don't shut it down. But like, what if you were just like, No, no one else gets to come on six months. I mean, there's options. I know these sound crazy to you. Okay, no idea. Okay. I'm just trying to I'm just like trying to help you see that, like, roll their eyes. Unknown Speaker 19:57 You're like, I see it. See? Colleen Schnettler 20:03 You and I know you love promote. And so then of course, then there's the smaller things, but I don't think not like depending on your, your rate of promoting the book. Yeah, you could just totally stop again, it's a book, it's not going to go anywhere, totally stop for six months. Right? All this stuff will be here, once you are recovered, but your health and your happiness that is your life, this is your life. And Michelle, you have made it. And you, you're so stressed. And that makes me sad. Michele Hansen 20:36 You know, I remember I always remember hearing, you know, money doesn't buy happiness when I was a kid. And, you know, he always interpreted that to mean Oh, yeah, you can't just you know, I don't know, go buy yourself something and then feel happy. And they don't tell you how bitter it is, when you're in a situation that can't be solved by money. Colleen Schnettler 21:02 Yeah, that's intense, Michele Hansen 21:05 even when you could have it and, you know, I mean, money by as, you know, therapy and coaches and, you know, help with cleaning the house and or, you know, employees for that matter. You know, whatever else, but you know, money truly doesn't buy happiness. And that is a bitter pill to swallow. Colleen Schnettler 21:25 Yeah. Yeah. And there's a lot of other small things you can do, which may help but they might just be bandaids. And so I really think you need to take a good look at like you, you're so happy in in what you have built with your husband, the work your work environment, and what you are building with the book like, but it doesn't seem right now. And it's been this way for a while, right? This hasn't been a month, this hasn't been two months, it's been this way for a while where it doesn't seem like it's bringing you overall happiness to the extent maybe you thought it would, and it might just be have too much going on. But like, I'm worried about you. That's there. I said it. Michele Hansen 22:09 I think the fact that I have so much going on right now is like bringing these other issues to the fore like we have talked in the past about how I really struggled with work life balance, and like, if like, like I really love working on giuoco do and both of us like we're not selling the business, we we both really enjoy working on it and working on it together. Like, but if I could work 12 hour days on do co do and book stuff like I would do that and be totally happy to do that. Yes, I could blame this on Okay, the extra stress of spending 10 hours a week in language school is like, really adding a lot of stress to this. But I don't think that gets to the bottom, like, like, I don't think I'm being honest with myself. If I say that, that is the problem like that is just like the straw that's breaking the camel's back here. That's, like I struggle with work boundaries. I struggle with, you know, prioritizing myself, like, and giving myself a break and feeling like I deserve a break. Like I think this is this conversation here is like, I don't feel like I can take a break. I don't feel like I deserve a break. I don't feel like it's something that's available to me. Um, I definitely consider myself a recovering workaholic and somebody who wrapped up way too much of their self worth and self identity in work. Which is not as bad as it used to be but like, like, I feel like those things are the real issues and like you know, we kind of talked about how doing that exercise at like well that exercise at founder summit, but also like when it comes to like business like I'm like super competent, and like confident and and like I just make decisions and I feel very self assured and I find it easy to move forward. You tend to like doubt yourself and do a lot of research and feel stuck and like really struggle with that but like when it comes to taking care of yourself and your work life balance and your social life and your your health and everything like you are like so decisive and confident and just make decisions and implement things and do things. And I'm like totally the opposite. Like we're completely opposite. Unknown Speaker 24:38 Yep. On these two things, Michele Hansen 24:40 and you're like, you have to have better work life balance and I'm like, like, how, how do like what's like, I don't know what that means. Like, I think I need to read a book on how to relax like, you know, like, Where where is this guide? Where is this schedule of like, Unknown Speaker 24:59 I can Please be the episode of this. I need to read a book about how to relax. Please title the episode like, that's amazing. Michele Hansen 25:07 Seriously, like, I feel like if you ever got to a point where like you were like I'm too stressed out, like you would immediately cut back on working and feel no guilt or shame or reservations and like just make it work. Colleen Schnettler 25:21 Yeah, absolutely. I think maybe my I mean, I think my experience is a lot different from yours being a military spouse with three kids. If I can't, I have to take care. I mean, they're older now. But like when they were little, like if I wasn't healthy, mentally, physically, whatever, I could not care for all these little people. And so I think part of it is I learned that years ago, like, if I don't have my shit in order, this whole thing falls apart. Because Nick was gone all the time. My husband, you know, he travels a lot for a long, long, long period of time. So I have learned over the years how important it is to prioritize myself really. And it's my life. Right? Let's get back to that. Like, this is your life. Like, how do you want to live it? I mean, right. Not the way you're living it right now. Not with this incredibly burdening like anvil of stress on your shoulders. Michele Hansen 26:19 Yeah, I mean, I feel I like something you said to me at founder Summit, one of our I don't know if this was our debrief knife, when we we ordered guacamole at midnight, I did some self pampering so good. That like you're like, you know, I met all these people who are super successful, and their businesses are where I want to be. And they're, like, I'm happier than them. Like, they're all miserable. Like, Unknown Speaker 26:47 I'm a little embarrassed that you shared that on the podcast, but I did. So we can love you all, thank you for chatting with me. Because not all of your character. Michele Hansen 26:59 Not all of them were miserable. But like they had a lot of, you know, business problems. And it created a lot of like, personal problems, and you didn't want to have those problems, like the stress of managing employees and just, you know, all this other stuff like, but like, you know, you're saying how like your work life balance is really good. Your family life is really good. Like, you've talked about how you're hesitant to work more because you don't want to disrupt how good your personal and then like family life is. And like Yeah, I like I just, I don't even I don't even know how to wrap my head around that. So that's it my family life is bad, or I don't like them. Like I do. Like it's just I don't know, like, it's Unknown Speaker 27:48 a lot. You're like, well, I you know, Michele Hansen 27:51 what if there's nights when you know, Nick wanted to hang out, and then I'm working and I'm like, What is this world where like, the default is not like, one of your like, is that what you thought? Like I said, your laptop? Like what is that? Like, I was just like, that's like so normal for us that like, you know, one of us has some sort of work to do we have to do all the time. Like and we're better than we used to be but like Yeah, and like, I don't know, hanging out with your spouse. Like I just I don't I don't even know like I don't know. i Our marriage is so funny. Our marriage is very different. Um, I just really I don't know, I feel very stuck. And I feel like all these solutions everyone is giving me I'm still like, Well, that was work wouldn't work because this and this wouldn't work. Isn't that like, I'm still I don't know what yeah, that but I'm being very obstinate. I'm not being very, very compliance person to be helped. Colleen Schnettler 28:53 That's what I think that was Shawn's point about, like, when you say I cannot change anything, that's when you know, you need to change something. Michele Hansen 29:00 Yeah. Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 29:04 Yeah, yeah. And it's a whole mindset shift. So actually, I was talking to my other business parent, partner Aaron about this yesterday. And I said that same thing where I was like, I feel like I'm happier than most people. And he was like, Why do you think that is? And I had a couple I had many reasons, but like one of them to like, again, as, like we, as a military spouse, like our friends actually die. I mean, that's like, in real life, like people die. Close friends of ours have died. And I think, you know, when that happens, like my good friend down the street is a widow. She was widowed at 29 with two kids. That really gives you perspective. I mean, you know what I mean? Like, I think that really, really helps. I think I'm really good at keeping perspective because I live in this world that is so much more dangerous than everyone else's world. It's like what is really important. You get one life, you don't know how long it's going to be. How do you want to spend it? Michele Hansen 29:57 It sounds like you take that perspective. Not as you know that your problems don't matter because you're not dead, or that your spouse isn't dead, it's more, which I think is often how that comes across. But it's more so that being surrounded by death, or having it, surrounded by it, but yeah, that was a little. Having it, having it be this kind of looming part of the community kind of like having having it be a presence in the community in a way that it's really not in mind. Like, it forces you to reevaluate those things, and to not take your time for granted. Which, you know, I mean, like, I mean, and, and I don't know, and he's also sort of an ADHD person thing, where, like, we struggle with the concept of time, and like, there's these great talks about how like, ADHD is this disorder of how you perceive time, and like, Hmm, you know, we let things expand to the amount of time allotted, and then some and so we need, like, deadlines for this stuff, like, and so if I feel like there's no deadline on me feeling better, or prioritizing myself, or whatever it is, like I just, I will just fill that time with other things because, and it has been externally set deadline to like, if I make up my own deadline, like, I will blow through it, like, it just, it's like, it doesn't exist, because I know it's made up, like I like outsmart the deadline, like, to my own detriment. Um, you know, but that doesn't, that time doesn't last forever. And it sounds like you get reminders that, you know, none of us are guaranteed any amount of time. Colleen Schnettler 31:38 So, and to be fair, like, on the other side of that coin, I sometimes I'm not, I want to say convinced, but I am sometimes concerned that like all of my businesses will not be successful, because I'm not willing to sacrifice everything else in my life. And, you know, so there's two sides to that, right? Like, I might always have a SAS that makes $1,000 a month and just hang out here, because I'm not willing to work 8090 100 hours a week to make it happen. So you know, trade offs, but Michele Hansen 32:10 I also I don't feel like I'm sacrificing everything because I still do have like, like, family life is also something I'm not going to sacrifice because I think it's something that I did in the past. And now I don't you know, I mean, like today's like, kind of a totally packed day for me, schedule wise. And I was like, you know, tonight, I'm just gonna, like, put our daughter to bed and probably, like, fall asleep with her. Like, but you know, we had Colleen Schnettler 32:41 her, but it is 530 Your time right now already. So, you know, I have something after that. Right. And you're going to do another podcast as soon as we get off this podcast. So and I know a lot of that is timezone stuff. But Michele Hansen 32:53 which suck. I hate them. Yeah. Like not being able to do anything with customers until like 8am at the earliest, or at sorry, like 2pm if they're an early riser, usually 3pm Six, if it's California, like, yeah, that is Colleen Schnettler 33:11 rough. Okay, so let's go back. Let's circle back circle back to you. Because we got a little distracted. And how we get the circle back. I know we're running out of time to solve all your problems. So in 30 minutes, Unknown Speaker 33:30 I think we have five minutes left till your next podcast. Colleen Schnettler 33:35 But seriously, like, what what is your? I'm so happy. Okay, so when you brought this up yesterday with our group, I was so happy to see that, because it showed me that you were fine. You were finally seeing it. And so what is your plan? Michele Hansen 33:52 Dude, I don't have one. I we I'm stuck in the middle of this like, Colleen Schnettler 33:56 so you don't know. You're still young? No idea, I think. Yeah. Michele Hansen 34:00 I mean, I was like, trying this week. I was like, maybe I can like, you know, dude, you could do stuff like Tuesday, Wednesday, and then do extracurricular stuff Thursday, but then it kind of ended up meshing together. And I'm like, actually, I really need to, like, sequester myself and like, get several focused hours of work done on like, Monday afternoons, like, I don't know, that just sounds like more like planning and scheduling. And when it does sound like that sounds like you know, sort of optimizing within the current bounds rather than like actually stepping back and taking time to like, reflect and focus on myself, which is just I think that's the bigger thing is I don't know how to do that. Like, well, and I was like, should I hire a coach, but then I was like, I feel like I don't have time for more meetings. Like, you know, it's just like a coach. I Colleen Schnettler 34:51 hire a relaxing coach. How do I relax, coach? Yeah, I think you're right, like trying to over optimize your schedule is not the solution. You have to fundamentally changed the box, right? And I know Michele Hansen 35:02 the paradigm is wrong. And I'm just working within the current paradigm because I don't know anything else. I just got it. It's not working. Colleen Schnettler 35:11 Right? Like, I know those ideas I threw out, I know you're not going to sell the company or hire someone or move to the United States. But my point is like, you could I mean, there are other options that are available to me. So try to think outside the box because you have to change the box because the box is not working for you. Yeah. Michele Hansen 35:31 Yeah. Well, that's a lot for me to, Unknown Speaker 35:37 you're gonna think about it. You promise? Michele Hansen 35:39 I'm gonna think about it. I'm gonna buy some books about stuff. I don't know. I don't know. Unknown Speaker 35:52 Okay, I was giving myself Michele Hansen 35:53 homework not the solution, either. Unknown Speaker 35:55 That's not not the solution is read a book about how to relax, read a book about how to stop writing Michele Hansen 36:02 about relaxing, right? Like, it's not like, relaxing without meditating. Like, Colleen Schnettler 36:06 it's not the right word. You know, Michele Hansen 36:08 I already meditate anyway. Like, it's not like it's, yeah, it's I don't know, I don't know what it like, I don't know anybody listening. You've gone through burnout. You have some the, I feel like at this point, I less need like solutions from people. And I more need, like, hope thinking about it, if that makes sense. Like framing a problem. Right? Yeah. So anyway, if anyone's gone through this, like, let me know, and you want to, you know, DM with me or something about it, and, or you have a book that like really helped you when you went through it. I feel like burnout is I've gathered that's very different for everyone. And the solutions are very different from everyone. So think I'm intentionally not asking for solutions, because that needs to be something that I figure out, right? Otherwise, because I'm just gonna sit here. Yeah, no, it's gonna work. That's gonna work and then I'm not gonna do what the problem, right? I need to I don't know. I need to think different think outside the box. You did new box. Colleen Schnettler 37:13 You need a new box. Okay, well, I wish you luck. Keep me posted on how it goes. And I think with that, we will wrap up this week's episode of the software Show podcast. Please reach out to Michelle on Twitter. If you have any advice or you yourself have gone through burnout. I think those would be welcome conversations. And let us know what you thought of the show. We're at software slash pod till next week. Michele Hansen 37:40 This episode was also brought to you by tele tele is a browser based screen recorder. For videos that showcase your work and share your knowledge. You can capture your screen, camera and present slides. You can also customize your videos with backgrounds layouts and other video clips. Tella makes it easy to record updates for your teammates, launch videos for your followers and demos for your customers. Record your next product demo with tele visit tele.tv/software Social to get 30% off tele pro Michele Hansen This episode was also brought to you by Tella. Tella is a browser-based screen recorder for videos that showcase your work and share your knowledge. You can capture your screen, camera, and present slides. You can also customise your videos with backgrounds, layouts, and other video clips. Tella makes it easy to record updates for your team mates, launch videos for your followers, and demos for your customers. Record your next product demo with Tella. Visit tella.tv/ softwaresocial to get 30% off Tella Pro
Nov 18th — Peter Suhm is the co-founder of Reform , a tool that lets you easily create simple, brandable forms. Peter is also part of the Tiny Seed 1st batch, where he was working on a product called branch Branch . After that didn't work out, he went through a period of testing and validating ideas. One of those ideas was a investor update tool, where Peter discovered how convoluted creating a form with existing tools was. Using Twitter and a very early stage MVP, he validated the idea for Reform and got to work building. Since then he's had #1 Product of the Week on Product Hunt and is now working through the challenges of building features and growing revenue. You might have also heard Peter on the Out of Beta podcast , which he co-hosts with Matt Wensing. ➡️ Get the uncut, 30 minute conversation with Peter on the Indie Bites membership here . What we covered in this episode: Coming up with the idea for Reform Validating the idea for Reform Why build a product in such a competitive market Where form builders keep messing up Getting to #1 Product Hunt of the week When is the right time to launch on PH Marketing and growth tests for Reform going forward Continuing to try things that don't scale Where should founders start with marketing? Peter's approach to product development The feedback loop of Twitter The upsides of raising Tiny Seed money Recommendations Book: Traction by Gabriel Weinberg Podcast: Tropical MBA Indie Hacker: Derrick Reimer Follow Peter Twitter Personal Site Follow Me Twitter Indie Bites Twitter Personal Website Buy A Wallet 2 Hour Podcast Course Sponsor - Fathom Analytics For the longest time, website analytics software was seriously bad. It was hard to understand, time-consuming to use, and worse, it exploited visitor data for big tech to profit. I've spent countless hours in Google Analytics dashboards trying to figure even out the most basic metrics. This is exactly why I signed up for Fathom as soon as I heard Paul Jarvis and Jack Ellis were building it. Fathom is simple website analytics that doesn't suck. It's easy to use and respectful of privacy laws, with no cookies following your users around the web. They're also a bootstrapped, sustainable business so I love supporting them. Yes, it might feel strange paying for analytics at first, but once you realise the real cost of free Google Analytics and realising how easy to use Fathom is, you won't go back. You can install the lightweight code on as many websites as you want and quickly see the performance of all your sites. Link → https://usefathom.com/bites
Nov 17th — How do you make a ton of money on the internet, and how do you manage it once you've got it? In this crossover episode from the Brains podcast, we have a fun discussion about money with Anthony Pompliano (@APompliano) who's a Bitcoin 9-figure millionaire and Sam Parr (@theSamParr) who sold his startup The Hustle for a reported $27 million. Whether you enjoy this crossover episode or not, tweet me and let me know! I'm @csallen on Twitter. You can subscribe to Brains in your favorite podcast player or via our website: https://www.brainspodcast.com
Nov 16th — Every doctor is concerned about your vital signs, but a good doctor cares about your overall health. Your website deserves the same care, and Hey Check It is here to help - Hey Check It is a website performance monitoring and optimization tool - Goes beyond just core web vitals to give you a full picture on how to optimize your website to give your users an optimal, happy experience - Includes AI-generated SEO data, accessibility scanning and site speed checks with suggestions on how to optimize, spelling and grammar checking, custom sitemaps, and a number of various tools to help you Start a free trial today at heycheckit.com AUTOMATED TRANSCRIPT Michele Hansen 0:00 Hey, welcome back to software social, I am super excited to have a guest with me this week. It is Matt wensing, who is founder of Summit, which is a tool for financial modeling. Previously, he was founder of risk pulse, which was acquired in 2019, which was an enterprise SAS. I'm also the co host of out of beta. Matt, welcome. Thanks, Michelle. Matt Wensing 0:31 I'm really excited to be here, too. I'm a listener. And I just love it. So this is fun. Michele Hansen 0:37 So I have been wanting to talk to you for a really long time. And there is one tweet that you sent out in particular, that made me really want to talk to you. So in January, you tweeted out some notes you had taken from customer research that you did for Summit. And you were working with what the jobs to be done world calls the forces diagram, which is basically this diagram we use to show the different pushes and pulls and anxieties and habits people have around the tools they use, and why they might be looking for something new, but also why they might stay with what they're doing right now. And I am so curious to hear kind of like how this came about, and how you have been using customer research as you explore summits. So can you kind of like take us back in time to when you first started researching Summit? Matt Wensing 1:52 Yeah, absolutely. So it's funny that there's actually an overlap here between even knowing what jobs be done enforces progress is and that initial research. So I attend the business of software conference each year in the States, so there's one in Europe and the States, but every October, in Boston, folks get together, at least pretty COVID and cross fingers soon. And Bob molesta is a regular speaker there as well, who is not sure the godfather of the forces of progress framework in a lot of ways. And I just remember being this is probably Oh, man, time's flying, right. So let's just say five years ago, I wanted to say three and like now, it's not three, it's probably five years ago, I listened to him interview, an audience member, kind of a mock customer interview, live about purchasing a car. And the way that they were able to take a dialogue and really parse it into a framework that you could then take away from that, and then keep doing that with more and more conversation. It just was like, Okay, this is definitely a tool that I need to add to my tool belt like this is, this is amazing. What's interesting is then fast forward into Summit, like by that time in the history of my previous company, I was doing sales, enterprise sales, mostly it wasn't doing a lot of customer research, at least in terms of the early sort of genesis of the product. So I don't know that I got to use it a lot. Back then it was mostly just listening to like we did do enterprise deals where there were custom features involved. But really, I got to use it fresh, you know, when you're second time founder, a lot of times you're like, Oh, I'm gonna do this the right way, this time around and actually use more tools and framework things I've learned. And forces progress is one of those. So I wanted to build this tool to do financial modeling. But that is such an ambiguous target that I knew I needed to figure out the value proposition. What does that really mean? What do people want? So funny enough, I gave a talk at business a software as a lightning talk in 2019. And I kind of use that as a launching point. I didn't frame it as, hey, I'm selling a product. I didn't even have a product. I had a little prototype, basically. But I use that talk to share. Really, the problem, socialize the problem space, if you will talk about, hey, this is this is a challenge, isn't it? Like this is a pain. Here's a little tool I made to kind of deal with that pain. And I really tried to draw some business lessons out of it. But really, at that same time, I started to have conversations with potential customers and prospects. And as they talked to me, I started cataloger file their feedback into these different kind of buckets, right, kind of the tool that I had learned previously and yeah, I just kind of did that every you know a few months would kind of refresh my understanding of what they were saying and built up this. This list organized list of feedback which I guess I'll put a bow on it and say it really think helped me understand the product strategy, like what did the product strategy need to be, for me to go into this space that was otherwise very nebulous? Like, how do I have opinion? Like what should my opinions be about the tool and what it needs to do? Right? Michele Hansen 5:19 Mm hmm. It's really it's really interesting that you use basically that talk as sort of a, I guess, sort of, in a way, sort of what Patrick McKenzie would call a friend catcher, to attract people to you to talk about the problem. But then because you had that experience with the forces of progress and with seeing Bob Maestas speak who, by the way, his his book, demand side sales actually has real customer interviews in it that are all broken down by the forces. And it's like, it's so good, like it should be on everybody's shelf. And then, but you you were able to process that. And I think that's so important, because sometimes there can can feel like there's this gap between for people who are new to research of how do I go from talking to people to actually designing value? And how do I figure out okay, I've talked to these people, I know what these problems are, I know what I'm interested in. But then what is the product? And it sounds like you were able to bridge that? So I'm curious if you can kind of dive into when you went from this point of understanding the problem space socializing the problem space, you kind of had a prototype, but like, how did the prototype sort of snowball with that? And how did you figure out where it was valuable? Matt Wensing 6:48 Yeah, so to put a timeline on this, this was, what you're describing now is essentially the journey from late 20, October 2019, through probably April, May of this year, so you know, almost almost two years, essentially. And during that time, I've released multiple versions of the products, really knowing that this was not going to be it. Now I'm a developer, a full stack developer who can build full, I can build applications top to bottom, not as strong as they used to be on the front end, but like it works. And what I was essentially trying to do was understand, okay, so there are few risks of the business. And funnily enough, Patrick McKenzie was one of the first people I pinged about this idea, because was his work at stripe Atlas and stripe. And just in general, I knew that he would have interesting opinion. And his thoughts were okay, financial modeling is interesting. But it sounds like it could be transactional, like, somebody has a need, they do it. And then they're gone. And I knew I wanted to build a SAS. And so that was like, Okay, that's a great point. Because a lot of times, the use cases that would come up when I talked to people were, oh, yeah, I have this investor meeting, or Oh, yeah, I have this fundraiser. Oh, yeah, I need to figure this thing out. And it sounded like it had a pretty finite shelf life of utility. People come they use it, then they go away. I was like, okay, that's not a great recurring revenue business, you know, because it sounds like something you could just sell for $50 one time, and then people don't ever need to keep paying you anything. So I recognize that pretty early on that engagement was a key risk to the business being a sustaining recurring revenue model. And engagement is tricky, because as much as you want to do, you know, mock ups and kind of smoke tests and things that are not you don't want to over invest in engineering, it's very hard to de risk engagements with a paper mock up or a screenshot or a prototype, like, how do you know that they're gonna come back to it unless they actually get to use something. So I basically spent those 18 to 24 months, releasing, what I knew were really technically debt laden, let's put it that way versions of the product, where all I cared was that the front end was communicating what I wanted it to like, this is what this is, this is what this does for you. If you click this button, this happens, and it works, how it works less important. So I built a lot of basically throw away versions of the product, which was expensive, but I felt like it was the key to knowing would people actually come back and reuse it? And I guess let's pause there. That was my approach. And that was why I took that approach to de risking or, or getting more valuable feedback from people than just like, a conversation or interview right? And then I think I paired that with, do you use Excel to use sheets, you know, how do you do this today? But I learned, I just want to point out, I learned from both the usage of the early versions and the customer conversations. Michele Hansen 10:12 I love how you underscored there, how the customers intrinsic behavior and their intrinsic needs, drive usage of the product, like there's only so many sort of engagement hacks that you can do to make someone come back to a product. But like, if they only need to raise money every 18 months, then there's nothing that you can do that will make them come back daily or weekly, because their fundamental underlying need for the product is infrequent. And I'm reminded of the pain and frequency framework from Dez trainer, which, you know, he said, you know, that that most, you know, painful and frequent is sort of the best quadrant to be in, because people have an underlying need for something and they're annoyed by it. But infrequent and painful, can be kind of a danger zone, it can be a space for good products, you know, I think, you know, I sort of think of like buying a house and getting a mortgage is very expensive. And it's so complicated. And it's, you know, expensive to get it wrong, but it's very infrequent. But other things that are infrequent and painful, you know, can maybe not be a great business, which it sounds like you had some indications that the underlying need for this, what you were originally thinking would not be frequent and and therefore people would not have a subscription. And so rather than staying with that, and going down the path, and then a year from now being like oh my god, I have this churn problem. How do I keep people to stay around? You pivoted towards something that was more frequent. Matt Wensing 11:58 Yeah, that's exactly right. So I often use the metaphor for the first version as like, because I didn't know what else to build. So I just bought, I just built, I built the version that I knew people would use at least that first time, right? Because then I knew it was gonna fail. I felt like it was gonna fail. But I was like, okay, but I have to figure out the bridge from here to there. Like, I have to take a step. And so I'm going to give them at least gonna give them that initial thing and then just see, will they tell me like, you know, what else would be great is if, you know, like, what else could I learn by doing this? And so I built kind of that coin operated version, I call it like a vending machine for a financial forecast. Because my original thought was, yeah, people need a forecast. That was the value proposition, how fast can I get them a forecast that that works. And people use that. But then again, it was the churn problem, it was the going away, it was the it was hard to build, you know, that raving fan base, that you need to get something off the ground? Because it just wasn't sustainable. So I realized that to build a SAS in this space, I was going to have to figure out what did they do regularly? You know, like, Okay, if you only close your books once a month, or even your maybe you don't even do that, because you have a bookkeeper or accountant that does that for you. If you only raise money every 18 months, like what is it that you do? That's close to this that is more frequent? And that's really how I got drawn into more of the modeling space meaning like, Okay, but what, tell me about what you do regularly, and if you look at what these founders made, if I would just have them, show me what you made, show me what you made, I basically got into this thing of like, you are spending time somewhere. Where is that? What are you doing, right? And they would show me, the spreadsheets that they were making, that were very ephemeral, like they were very, they were throwaway products, if you will, they would make this like, I gotta figure out if I can afford this higher. And so they would just come into a G sheet G sheets, not new, right? Create a little spreadsheet and then use it for like a day, and then go away. But then it's like, well, how many of these do you have? Say, Oh, well, I mean, I probably do that, you know, once a once every other week, once a week, twice a month, like sometimes multiple times. And I'm like, wait a minute. So you don't build like a giant, you know, official forecast all the time. But you are using spreadsheets a lot. And you are doing things with money in spreadsheets a lot. Like Tell me about that. And that started to inform our strategy of Wait a minute, you know, there's really two customers here are two potential users. There's the CFO, if you will, or the analyst who builds those. That's the founder, even if it's a founder that's a hat they were where they do it like every once in a while I have to get serious about finance and do this proper thing. And then there's the non CFO founder, I just need something to solve my question or answer my question, person persona, who actually kind of does this work that they don't show to anyone else? They're really embarrassed. They know it's not, you know, they know it's not. Right, like with a capital R, right. But they're doing it a lot. Like they're doing this to make all the little decisions about pricing and metrics and goals. And how much can I afford to pay this person, like, I'm like, wait a minute. Turns out, you're actually doing a lot of modeling, you just don't talk about it. And you don't, you don't show it to anybody because you're embarrassed, right? It's this like dirty little secret almost that you have that you build these things and make decisions. Because of course, you use numbers, nobody doesn't use numbers, but like, you just don't call this some financial model. So that was a key insight, realizing that there were these two personas that were actually living within the same person. And they had compartmentalize those very cleanly, but I was much more interested suddenly in the other person, right. Michele Hansen 16:13 That's so interesting. Like, you know that what you just showed there is, I think it's such a key, a key point and activity based design, which is the idea that we're designing for activities that people do and not for a specific person. And so in my book, for example, I talk about, you know, everything is a process, and everything is an activity. And the activity of you know, for example, one person might both have a Carraig pod coffee machine, and have a French press. But they use the Carib pod coffee machine when they're trying to get the kids to school in the morning, and they're rushed, and they're doing a million other things. And they use the French press on the weekend when they have a friend over to chat. And to them. Those are two very different activities that they're doing. But they're being done by the same person. And so if you design for the person, that wouldn't make sense to you that they would own both, and would try to pigeonhole them into one. But really, they're a person who's doing many different activities with many different goals. And so you have this one activity where I need to create financial models for official purposes, to share them with other people, maybe for compliance reasons, maybe for sort of me in my official capacity reasons where other people are reviewing this. And then there's also this activity of, I need to make a decision that involves numbers. And it's basically this sort of like there's the official activity. And then there's the back of the envelopes activity, which is where this kind of I've heard people describe summit as like a whiteboard that does math. Yes. And that is also where that activity comes in. And that's more so replacing those those millions of spreadsheets and which other really fascinating about this is that so often is the core thing and jobs to be done. So often the competitors to a product is not actually another piece of software or another product product. It's somebody doing it. It's them making a spreadsheet. It's something in Google Docs, it's like them doing it by hand like that is as much a competitor as another piece of software. It's like, there's so many pieces. Yes, this is great. Matt Wensing 18:37 Oh, yeah. And that's why, you know, I try to explain, like, this is such a journey, because you, we joke within the company, like, gosh, we did you know, we were so dumb a week ago, like how we thought we were so smart, but we knew nothing. And when I started this journey, you know, you just so in the dark, and then you take these steps and you realize, wait a minute, wait a minute. And so it is kind of a weird thing that you have this perennial sort of optimism as a founder that there's something here and you can you want to figure out that if you're wrong, you're wrong, but at the same time, people are not telling you. You know, and this is the thing I think so key like this is a skill to develop is people are not what people don't say is as important as what they do say and like learning to find out that wait a minute, we were we were standing in this room, if you will, in your mind talking about financial modeling. And here I am thinking that this is where the gold is, you know, this is trying to get all my answers. And you're telling me next door you've got like 12 spreadsheets with numbers and money in them and you're you didn't tell me about like, how did I How was I so close but yet like you didn't you know, like if I had just if I had given up them right. I would have missed the room that actually had all the gold in it right? But it was literally connected but in their mind at what it was a different room. It's like oh, you're asking Give me about this. But, you know, you're not asking about that. And so that's what's so kind of vexing for like, in hindsight, I just laugh because stumbling across the actual value is is something that you, you partly luck part skill and getting people to. And really I'll cut my rambling short by saying I think observation is more powerful in those cases than just question and answer because the real key for me was when I said, Show me, show me what you have today. And they had to, you know, at that point, they couldn't say, like, Why have nothing. But they did have to say, Oh, well, let me open up the store over here and show you what I have today, because I haven't been through a fundraiser, and I haven't, whatever, but I've got something. And it's only when I said, Show me that I got to see like, wait a minute, there's this whole other room here, that is exactly where I want to be. So we pivoted our strategy towards that other space. And it's been very fruitful. Michele Hansen 21:12 And there's two really important skills for entrepreneurs there, that you just sort of, underscored without really stating them outright, that I want to, I want to hone in on for a second. The first one was basically thinking about how much of an idiot you were a week ago, and thinking about that, and not being embarrassed about it, but kind of being like, delighted that you have learned something, and that you have added to your understanding of customers. And, and kind of being able to like, not laugh at yourself, but almost sort of look at it with like this, this sort of it's almost a pride in a way of being like, man, I was such an idiot six months ago, like, and it's kind of delightful to have those moments of realizing how much you didn't know, but to be delighted by that, and not be embarrassed by that. And kind of as a company being able to say, like, Yeah, we had no idea we're doing. And now we six months from now, we're also gonna say we, you know, we don't know what we're doing. Right? Like, but you know, we are aware of that. And then also the curiosity, the combination of that approach to learning and being excited by learning and looking for surprises, and then allowing yourself to be curious when you talk to the customers, and not just accepting what they're saying at face value. But saying, Well, can you? What's what's in this closet over here, like, and just, but like, you can only get to that point if you have really built trust with them. Because as you said earlier, they were embarrassed by doing this back of the envelope math, they were embarrassed by their legions of spreadsheets of whether they can hire people because it wasn't real official forecasts done by a BI team, like maybe they they're so small, they don't even have a BI team. Right? Like, exactly. So. And so they don't want to show this anyway. But when you did the interviews, they trusted you enough, which tells me that the way you ran the interviews was when you ran them really well, because they were willing to let you in and poke into what you thought was a little closet. But it turned out they were like pulling out a books and a book. And then the whole bookcase like turns around. And it's like their secret lair full of spreadsheets. Matt Wensing 23:36 Exactly, exactly. Was that they had made like yesterday, and then this one from today and that one from a week ago. And I'm like, wait a minute, you're not just doing this, like once every you're doing this, like, this is enough, guys, this is enough, you know? And like, what if you actually enjoy doing this? Like, oh, wow, you know, and so then it was like the opportunity to switch that negative emotion to a positive one and say, let's change embarrassment to fun and joy and just, let's embrace the informality of it by letting you do it this way. But we're going to level you up like we're going to make it better and faster and take out the tedium. So that's where I went back into my forces of progress. And I said, Okay, for this non CFO founder, what are their thoughts? And you know, they say stuff like, I'm embarrassed by my spreadsheet. I'm not very good at this, Michele Hansen 24:29 right. Also, their spreadsheet, like they love playing in the spreadsheet. They Matt Wensing 24:33 do love to play exactly. So they like the act of playing with it, right? It's almost like a child who's like, I love to finger paint and create things. But then it's like the kid who's embarrassed to show his parents or teacher whomever like well, you know, this is just for me. And so it was a very, like private activity. And so I was like, wait a minute, so this is an opportunity to say, Don't worry, we've got your back. Like, we'll make sure the math is right. We'll run the team will do the tedious parts for you. We'll make it look really well designed without you having to do the work of making it look professional. And we'll even help you use smarter, you know, building blocks to do this work. So you might not, you still might not use it to do that fundraiser, get that for an evaluation or whatever, like, you're still gonna have to create a spreadsheet, perhaps, for all those little decisions. Like, that's where summit wants to start, like, we want to be your tool for that, right? And I think over time, we can grow into the, oh, hey, you're really, you're really skilled at Excel? Are you really good at G sheets, and you have total, you are like, really confident and proud of your work? We'll get to you, but like this, then give us that shape of adoption that that's okay. Like, there's enough people. And in fact, there's more people. It's a bigger market of people who are a little bit embarrassed, a little shy and a little inexperienced, frankly, with this stuff than the other one. And oh, gosh, guess what team? Like, the feature requirements are completely different. Like, instead of having to build the enterprise, incredible version, that's going to win people away who are like veterans, right? We get to start with, like, the people who need the simplest things, you know, like that was the other exciting part is that, wow, you're just doing addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, basically, right? Like, okay, great. You know, I don't have to like, cuz I will say, you know, I don't want to leave this part out, like there was a pivotal moment in those 18 months where I was, hadn't decided yet that this is where we were going to go. And I found myself torn, trying to build more and more sophisticated tools and analysis for that really confident diehard user. And they were so demanding, and so exacting, and I was just barely getting, like, I'd say a b plus, with them. And it was causing me to almost have to go, Okay, this is going to end up being a consulting business, if I'm not careful, because I'm going to end up having to do a lot of bespoke work a lot of custom work for them, I'm going to end up, you know, having to get into the models that mean, I have to become a data scientist, like it was just so intense, that I realized, okay, this is not the business I want to build either like, this is just a bad fit from a, you know, I want a high margin, self serve SAS business. And I might come back to y'all. But this is not where I'm going to start. I can't I can't start here, because there's only one of me. At that point, there was one of me so. So I made the decision, then, okay, we're going all in on the other side. And that also allowed us to say, wait a minute, you know, all these opinions, we were baking into the product, all these best practices, all these things, we kind of need to like, lower that not come across as so proper and formal and the right way to do things, you know, you can only do things the right way, right? We actually need to be more invited, it changed our whole brand, right? We went through a rebrand where we said, instead of being serious and professional and discipline looking like Wall Street kind of style branding, you know, traditional financial branding, we actually said, what if we were playful and inviting and inclusive, and, you know, just warm and friendly with our branding, that would actually resonate more with these people who treat this stuff as their playground, right, like you said, and so it didn't just affect your product strategy, you know, really changed our whole positioning and brand identity, once we realized that this was the this was the side of the person we wanted to go after. Right? Michele Hansen 28:48 Hmm. It's so interesting that there were multiple inflection points there. Were you really stopped to think like, is this the business we should build? Whether that's from a product perspective? Or from a, you know, like a business perspective? Like, is this the business I want to be in? And when those points came? In sounds like you were quite reflective about them. And, you know, you know what, when you're at that point where you realized, you know, that, you know, that people were not doing the modeling, you initially thought they were on the frequency that you hoped they would be. You could have been threatened by that discovery. And you could have decided to, you know, give up or dig your heels in on it. And you didn't, and I think that it's such an important mental shift that needs to happen in order to really do customer research well, is to be open to what you're going to hear and to follow it wherever it's going to take you. And so you initially thought You were building a serious financial modeling tool for, you know, say startups, CFOs, and founders that is polished and professional, and they can give it to their boards or whatever. Yep. And, and then it turns out, you're actually making this fun private playground for them to make decisions in, in a way that helps them do it faster, and maybe doesn't use all of the skills they have about, you know, you know, decision support systems they learned in business school, but instead, it's somewhere that's like, safe. And yeah, for them. That's a very different business than you thought you were building. And you allowed yourself to be, you know, sort of led by the customer, still applying your own, you know, analysis on top of that, still asking yourself, you know, of all of these different directions that customers leading me in, or I could allow them to lead me in, you know, are those businesses I want to be in? Are those products I want to build? Is that is that the future I want for myself and for this company? And you allow that answer to be No, right? You didn't just force yourself into it. But you said, No, and we're going to do something else. Because there's something else that's interesting here, like there's still something here. Yeah. And maybe that's not it, but there's something else, but allowing yourself to sort of just just sort of to go with it, but still be steering it at the same time. And I don't I don't know if I'm quite conceptualizing that very well. Matt Wensing 31:40 No, yeah, it describes, you know, basically describes, I would say, December of 2020, in January 2021, where we just realized that I realized that this was not the right segments, this is not the right value prop for the right, you know, hats that people were wearing. And we were able to charge more money, but it wasn't going to grow the way I wanted to. So we rebuilt the darn thing, again, for hopefully the last time in April, May and June of this year, and then release the beta version in July. And it's really exciting. Now we've had three months of growth, we've had three months of consecutive growth, which had never happened before. Right. So revenue up each month, and retention. So we've actually had negative net negative retention each month, which has never happened before, either. So it turns out these people love it, it's doing what they want to the prices, right? And there's a lot of them. So I'm like, This is great. You know, you know, we have that we have a business and I will come it's funny, full circle, we now have some of our users who are founders, saying, hey, one of them, it blew my mind, he shared a screenshot of a zoom call with his board, where he did show summit on the call, which he never would have done with the G sheet that he created. Right. But because it looks like rigor, it looks rigorous. It's actually doing justice to his thoughts. Like he's a super smart person. But I think the problem before was like a mismatch between, you know, the tools that he had to express his logic and his thinking and his, his conceptual gifts, right, like, very, very talented, but like, you put them in front of a spreadsheet, and he would, you know, that just wasn't his native tongue. Right. It wasn't where he wanted wasn't the right tool for him to express those thoughts. Now that he and they have that they are starting to share them more on tweets, and with board meetings and like, which is great for us. But I think it's a testament to the fact that they're proud of their work now. Right. And that's really exciting for us. So yeah, it's it's a journey. Michele Hansen 34:01 It sounds like it has been, I mean, an incredible journey so far. I'm I'm super excited to see where this takes you. i You know, I've had a little bit of experience with with you know, with working with analysts myself, because I used to work in sort of the the financial space and I definitely knew a lot of people who love their spreadsheets and, you know, like genuinely reveled in making discounted cash flows and excel and very proud of your macros. Yeah, thing. And, yeah, yeah. Like, just like, and I mean, I feel like I have a little bit of that where I like, you know, genuinely enjoy, like playing in a spreadsheet. Yeah. And it's been so cool to see everything that you're sharing about different kinds of things that you could do with it, but also people doing it for their own personal budgeting and like, you know, founders, like founder financial situations are always so like weird and different and like, figuring out whether, you know, can I? Can I do this? Can I send my kid to this school? Can I, you know, can I buy a house, you know, all of those sorts of different things. Um, really, really exciting stuff. And, and, you know, I noticed you tweeted recently that you feel like you're getting to that, that point where it's really, it's really starting to take off and have that. You know, you know, you feel like you have found the product, you have discovered the products, which is the hardest part, and that you're getting those rabid fans. And actually, I told you this already, but I was at a wedding a couple of weeks ago. And these table I was sitting at like the, you know, there are two guys who work in finance sitting across the table from me. And like one of them was like telling them like about summit and how awesome it was and how he had to get access to it and all this like stuff you've built with it, you know, and I was on the other side of this huge table, and I wasn't really part of that conversation. But I was like, What are they talking about what they think I think, you know, wow, like, Oh, my God, like the internet in real life happening at this table at wedding. Matt Wensing 36:12 Founders delight right there. Yeah, yeah. Michele Hansen 36:16 But I think there's, I think we're gonna be hearing a lot more of people using summit and stuff so you can do with it. It has been an absolute delight talking to you today. Thank you so much for giving us some insights into your customer research and product discovery process. I really appreciate. Matt Wensing 36:38 You're welcome. Thanks for having me, Michelle. Michele Hansen This episode was also brought to you by Tella. Tella is a browser-based screen recorder for videos that showcase your work and share your knowledge. You can capture your screen, camera, and present slides. You can also customise your videos with backgrounds, layouts, and other video clips. Tella makes it easy to record updates for your team mates, launch videos for your followers, and demos for your customers. Record your next product demo with Tella. Visit tella.tv/ softwaresocial to get 30% off Tella Pro
Nov 13th — Brian Casel is a veteran of the bootstrapping game, having left his full-time job back in 2008. You might have heard him on the Boostrapped Web podcast where he shares his journey starting and building software products. Over the years Brian has pretty much done it all, built software businesses, courses, productized services and even sold some along the way. Most recently, Brian has been working on ZipMessage , a new way to communicate asynchronously. ➡️ Get the uncut, 60 minute recording with Brian on the Indie Feast membership here. What we covered in this episode: Where did the idea of ZipMessage come from? How Brian validated ZipMessage Brian's unconventional approach to validation Why Brian raised funding from Calm Company Fund How can people go from freelancer to productized service The importance of building processes in productized services Why Brian didn't follow his passion for music Recommendations Book: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight Podcast: Smartless Indie Hacker: James McKinven <em>(errm...)</em> Follow Brian Twitter Personal Site Follow Me Twitter Indie Bites Twitter Personal Website Buy A Wallet 2 Hour Podcast Course Sponsor - Fathom Analytics For the longest time, website analytics software was seriously bad. It was hard to understand, time-consuming to use, and worse, it exploited visitor data for big tech to profit. I've spent countless hours in Google Analytics dashboards trying to figure even out the most basic metrics. This is exactly why I signed up for Fathom as soon as I heard Paul Jarvis and Jack Ellis were building it. Fathom is simple website analytics that doesn't suck. It's easy to use and respectful of privacy laws, with no cookies following your users around the web. They're also a bootstrapped, sustainable business so I love supporting them. Yes, it might feel strange paying for analytics at first, but once you realise the real cost of free Google Analytics and realising how easy to use Fathom is, you won't go back. You can install the lightweight code on as many websites as you want and quickly see the performance of all your sites. Link → https://usefathom.com/bites
Nov 10th — Today I'm talking to Justin Jackson (@mijustin). He's someone who started out in entrepreneurship by opening a brick and mortar snowboarding shop. I want to find out how he made the unlikely leap into SaaS and how having four kids at a young age changed both his journey and how he thinks about money, legacy, and the future. Follow Justin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mijustin Get your podcast hosted on Transistor: https://transistor.fm/
Nov 9th — Follow the speakers we mentioned! David Sherry: https://twitter.com/_brandswell Itamar Marani: https://twitter.com/itamarmarani Colleen Schnettler 0:00 Every doctor is concerned about your vital signs, but a good doctor cares about your overall health. Your website deserves the same care, and Hey Check It is here to help - Hey Check It is a website performance monitoring and optimization tool - Goes beyond just core web vitals to give you a full picture on how to optimize your website to give your users an optimal, happy experience - Includes AI-generated SEO data, accessibility scanning and site speed checks with suggestions on how to optimize, spelling and grammar checking, custom sitemaps, and a number of various tools to help you Start a free trial today at heycheckit.com AUTOMATED TRANSCRIPT Michele Hansen 0:35 Hey, Colleen. Colleen Schnettler 0:37 Good morning, Michelle. Michele Hansen 0:39 It's so nice to see your face again, after seeing it in person. Last off at founder Summit. Colleen Schnettler 0:45 I know that was such a wonderful trip. And just amazing that we got to spend that time together. Michele Hansen 0:51 I keep thinking about how awesome it was like, I feel like they've set the bar really, really high for conferences in general as but especially post COVID. Colleen Schnettler 1:04 Yeah, I also think I will be impressed if they can replicate that experience next year, because everyone I know now wants to go. And I think part of what made that conference so special was that there were it was capped at 150 people. And I'm sure they're gonna get a flood of applicants to go next year. So I don't know what they're going to do how they're going to handle that. Michele Hansen 1:28 Yeah, actually, so Tyler tweet that he was like, oh, like, what if we did this in other cities? Oh, like to a year? Yeah. And I was like, Oh, that would be really cool. Yeah, good. Maybe we should talk about like, what made it so awesome. And like, kind of what are like, what are takeaways from it? Colleen Schnettler 1:44 Oh, yeah, girl, I have so many takeaways, all the takeaways. Okay. What were what? What would you lead with? What made it so special for you? Besides me? Of course. It's too easy. Michele Hansen 2:01 You know, so I mean, yeah, this is really hard thing to like, summarize. So I think it was, I mean, it was just so nice being in the same place with other people who are doing the same thing. You know, I think we've talked about how, you know, we initially connected one of the reasons was like, You're the only person I knew in my regular everyday life, who also did this, like weird internet business thing. And there's just like, aren't that many people in this world doing that. So it's just like, so nice to be around other people who are doing this. And you're not only not only do you feel normal, but like, it's such a good environment for like, throwing around ideas. And like, there was at one point when we were talking about, like, multiples for SaaS companies like making a couple $1,000 a month at one point, like on a on the bus to do the hot air balloon ride over to t Wuhan like, and I hope I'm pronouncing that right. I'm practicing so much. And we're like, you know what, we should just like, ask the bus, like this bus full of people would know the answer to this question and have a perspective on this. And like, and so that was really, really awesome. And I feel like there's so many people who introduce themselves. And then and then we like, you know, I'm so and so Oh, and I'm so and so on Twitter, and I'm like, oh my god, like, I've been tweeting with you for the past, you know, like, couple of years, and I finally meeting you in person. And. And so that was really awesome. And I mean, just getting so many ideas going about things. And also, you know, we had talked on our meta episode about how I want to talk more about negotiation, because that's something I do a lot of, and sales, but don't really talk about. And then a speaker was sick on the second day, and Tyler was like, Hey, can anybody give a talk this afternoon? And like, fill the spot and I was like, Yep, alright, I can do negotiation, talk and workshop. And, and, you know, just kind of kind of jumped at it. And it was, it was super fun. And I think I think the big thing I'm really thinking about that, you know, that activity did was like the, the, the, like the wheel where you had to, like rate different areas over your life from like, one to 10 like how they're going. So there was I think it was like occupational fulfillments like one to 10 which is work, right work. Yep. spiritual, emotional, environmental. Physical. Did I already say social? I don't think so. Social. Yeah, there was like five or six different things. Yeah, that's Colleen Schnettler 4:49 six. Um, Michele Hansen 4:52 and I think we both had really interesting results from that. Like they're very different like ours were like, Oh, yes, opposite one. And yeah, and really thinking about how like, you know, I like I gave like physical health like a one on that, right. And the goal of this activity was, you know, you give each area a score of one to 10. And then you set a goal of getting up to spots in the next 90 days. So not going from one to 10, which is often how I two things, just like totally like, balls to the wall focusing on something. But going, you know, from like, one to three, and so it's like, how can you have a plan to go from one to three or three to five? Or, or what have you in the next 90 days. And I remember you saying, when I was writing the book, you were like, Dude, you're like, moving so fast, like you're gonna run headfirst into a wall. And I did, and I haven't talked about that too much, but kind of like privately, I've talked to some people who definitely had this had a similar feeling after launching things. Yeah. Um, and yeah, just really, really thinking. I mean, like, literally even like today, like I got hiccups. 30 seconds before we got on recording, and I was doing literally everything I could to get them to go away, rather than being like, hey, maybe let's record another day instead, right? Like I make work happen no matter what. Even if it's at the the sacrifice of my physical health. And so I think that's something you know, I really need to focus on and I think, something Natalie from wild bit said on stage was like, you know, if the founder isn't happy, if the founder isn't healthy, then the company can't flourish. And so I think that's, that's, I mean, that's something I really, really need to work on. And it's like, kind of like work related, but it's like, it's not, but it also like it is in every sense of the word. So I think that's kind of been a thing I'm thinking about, but I don't I still don't really know exactly where I go with that. Colleen Schnettler 7:07 Like actionable steps. That's what you're still trying to figure out. Because if you want a warning, pretty bad, so Michele Hansen 7:12 yeah, it is. Yeah. I mean, I did order atomic habits, which is like one of those books that like I've never read before, never read a tie. No, it's like one of those books. I feel like that. And like Ray Dalio, his book, or like, books that everybody around me read and like, told me about, and I read about, so I felt like I read them. But I didn't, you know, like, I just didn't feel like I needed to, because it just everybody read it. And I'm like, No, I should probably like, sit down and think about like, not doing a whole scale turnaround, which is like, normally how I approach anything, and it's like, just just just way over the top. Yeah, um, but how, you know, how can I make small changes so that I don't get exhausted and like, move on to something else? And then then, which then exhaust me and then move on to something else? Like, it's, I see a pattern here. So, um, yeah, and I think I also thought, you know, a lot of people, even if they were in different groups really struggling with the idea of like, work life balance, and how do you, you know, how do you make it so that work doesn't become too much of your identity? And how, when when you really love what you do, like, it's really hard to pull yourself away from it, too, Colleen Schnettler 8:28 right? Yeah. Michele Hansen 8:32 I don't know. So I don't really have like, I'm just kind of all that's just still really marinating in my head. But it really, really got me going. And I think I really, really needed that push to like, um, I don't know, like, I guess like, prioritize my myself a bit. Colleen Schnettler 8:52 Sounds great. I mean, it sounds like that. It's funny sometimes to how you you've probably heard that from me or your spouse or your other friends. But there was something about the environment where everyone was sharing and being open and vulnerable in that big group that I felt really helped some of those points hit home because you saw so many people in the same situation you were in. Michele Hansen 9:13 Mm hm. And I mean, you're so like, you were totally opposite because oh, I have like a 10 for occupational like I feel like you know, for me, like this is exactly where I want to be like, last week I spoken in Mexico City twice. This week I spoke in Copenhagen I'm you know, like, like, this is just sort of in like the business is good. Like everything is really good there. But like you for occupational like I think you had like a 10 or a nine for physical health. But then you are much lower on occupational and that was the group that you were in. Colleen Schnettler 9:49 Absolutely. Yep. I think something you mentioned to me, which I think is true and was kind of cemented meeting so many founders is like I'm pretty good at taking care of myself socially. mentally, physically, I prioritize that. And so yeah, all that stuff was good for me. But yeah, my occupational score was lower. So my goal is to get that score, what do you say to two or three in the next 90 days? Michele Hansen 10:17 I'm just curious, what did you give yourself for occupational, Colleen Schnettler 10:20 I honestly don't remember probably like a seven. I love what I do. So I don't think I mean, I think if I was still working a full time job that I didn't enjoy, it would have been much lower. I love what I do with occupational in terms of like my job. So it was still a high score. But I think I what I really took away from the conferences is I was challenged in a way I haven't been challenged in a long time. And by that, I have a lot going on as to you as everyone. And I'm doing really, really well one of the executive coaches there who I was talking with, she described it as an avalanche of abundance, which is like a great problem to have, right? Like, I'm not gonna complain about it. It's an amazing problem to have. And I have all the things and I'm very happy. But I think I haven't really pushed it all on the business stuff. I've just kind of been resting, but I'm not tired. I'm ready to push. Does that make any sense? I guess what I'm trying to say is, I could be trying a lot harder. That's it. That's what I'm trying to say. Yeah, I think so I think that I'm not really trying. And I'm telling myself, I'm trying, but I'm not. So I'm going to start trying. Michele Hansen 11:40 So what is trying look like to you. There's a couple of really specific things. I Colleen Schnettler 11:45 think there's a lot of personal stuff wrapped up in here too. Like something I took away was like identity. For example, I have this, this interesting. You and Rosie talked about identity on the podcast. Mine's a little different in that my children get out of school 230 In the afternoon, I thought I was going to try you know, I'll pick them up at 230 will come home and they'll do their homework. And I'll continue to work. And that that set up like from a very practical perspective, like what can I practically do in the next 90 days, that setup is not working because I hate stopping work at 2pm in the afternoon. Like that's just, you know, you're in the middle of something, I pick them up, and they need to be supervised, like they can't just be free. We don't have a backyard here. So they need to be supervised wherever they are. We live in California, so I want them to be outside. So it wasn't that I was picking them up and having super quality time with them. It was I was picking them up. We were going to the playground and I was just hanging out of the playground. Mm hmm. Like, very practically speaking. So practically speaking, that doesn't have to be me, that can be another person doing that. And so I can get more of a deep work in my work day. And so I hired after school childcare, I found a nanny. She's lovely. She's already started on Monday, and this week has been really great. Michele Hansen 13:04 Oh my god. Amazing. Yeah, Colleen Schnettler 13:06 it's like, it's amazing. And the thing is, I you know, I was really worried about upsetting the balance of my happy family life, children marriage with working more. But that's a fake fear. Because, first of all, if if something starts to get gnarly, and I start to upset the balance, I can always change what I'm doing. And second of all, the kids are at the age, as I said, where they just want to play in the playground. They're not we're not like having some amazing bonding experience after school, or give them a snack, we go to the playground. Michele Hansen 13:38 Does anyone have amazing bonding experiences after school? Like our like, our daughter gets home and she's just so tired. Like that, even like playing a board game is like, Yeah, but Colleen Schnettler 13:49 just want to do they? I mean, my kids just want to play with their friends, right? Yeah, I want to do their thing. So. So the two very actionable things, I feel like I'm ready to push again, I think when I was learning to code, building up my kind of reputation as a Rails developer, you and I talked a little bit about this offline. Like, I worked all the time, and it was hard. And then I rested for like four years, like I just it was it was worth it that year to however it was probably two years of like, really intense work was worth it to have the four or five years of just getting paid a lot of money and doing good work, but like mostly being chill. And I feel like I'm ready to push again, is what I'm trying to say with all these words. And to do that, I see that as working. You know, I'm at my desk seven early, like I get here early. So working a long day, and then I'm picking two nights a week to work and I'm going to set those up with my spouse beforehand. So there's no there's no bitterness, or upsetness. Or I'm like, Oh, I got to work tonight. Oh, I got to work tonight. And he wants to hang out. So we've set aside two nights a week I'm going to work and we're going to do this for a month or two and see, see if I can move the needle on things. Just kind of like test it out. Yeah, right. Right. I mean, it's my life. I can Do whatever I want. So I'm going to try it out. I'm going to try I think I've been scared to try. That's the truth. I've been scared to try. Why have I been scared to try? I'm not quite sure. But it doesn't matter. That's what I've, so I'm going to change that up. And commit to working more. That's my goal. Michele Hansen 15:19 Feel like one of the talks that you I think you may be said was the best one that I actually missed? was one on fear. Colleen Schnettler 15:29 Right? Love this one. Do that a little bit? Yes, I'd love to. Okay, so this is a tomorrow's talk. Yeah, he is an executive coach. And he talked about so and I don't like personal development, like, I don't read self help books. Like I kind of roll my eyes at that whole area of study. So I just we're Michele Hansen 15:53 so opposite. Like, I have like piles of like, books on on your, you're talking to the person with piles of books on like, empathy and boundaries. And like, all these kinds of Colleen Schnettler 16:08 read that I read your book, because I love you. But generally speaking, that's not my jam. So, so I went into this talk with low expectations, not that I thought he would be, you know, not a good speaker, but just like, Okay, I'm not gonna get anything out of this. And, you know, he talked about fear, which everyone talks about, but I thought he was gonna get up there and say, Oh, you have a fear of failure. Yeah, everyone has a fear of failure. We get it. That is not what he said. He got up there. And he talked about three fears. The first core fear being uncertainty. And as founders that's applicable to us, because we become control freaks. And we won't hire. Oh, I'm giving you eyeballs. Michele Hansen 16:49 I see. I see those eyeballs. I, I, hey, you know, whatever. What are the breakthroughs I had, I'm just just saying this in David's workshop on we should really use people's last names because they're so good. Yes. Um, but now if you like, you know, us know them. So anyway, so, um, David's workshop on, like, personal mission statements, but you also don't believe. And I was like, I've had a personal mission statement for 15 years, but also apparently never told anyone. But like doing that exercise with him, where I crystallize the thought that I am building a business, not an organization. And at this point in my life, I don't have the mental energy to run an organization. I love running a business, but dealing with like, people, politics and all that, like I mean, a lot of the stuff that like Rosie talked about, about hiring and people management, like I just I mean, with just managing, like the people in my own house is kind of the level of management that I'm like capable of. Anyway, yes. Not hiring. So that was the fear of uncertainty. Colleen Schnettler 18:03 Well, I mean, there were other things in that, but just generally, with what we do. There's so much uncertainty, and that is also a core fear. So that's something you really have to learn to manage. And I think what you just said about David, David, David's workshop is really good. Because you, you realize that for yourself. And you've kind of always known that, but I don't know if you verbalized it or crystallize it before, in that knowing Michele Hansen 18:26 that way. That workshop was awesome. Like, yeah, Colleen Schnettler 18:29 I loved David's to David sherry. Yeah, everyone. Yes. I love Dave. Oh, Michele Hansen 18:34 good. Yeah, it was basically like, people who are familiar with jobs to be done or who Google things about jobs to be done. The there's like the forces diagram working through the different like, pushes and pulls and anxieties and fears that someone has that keeps them in, in a situation from switching products. We basically applied that to like, our professional lives. And our companies. And it was yeah, Colleen Schnettler 19:01 it was it was really good. Like I was also Pooh poohing the mission statement thing, but it was, Michele Hansen 19:06 it was really, it totally called you out. In front Colleen Schnettler 19:10 of everyone. Thanks. It's fine. We were like a group of friends. By that point. It didn't feel awkward. It was yeah, it was so intimate. Okay, it was so intimate. Yeah. Okay, so the second fear. So this is Itamar. His second fear was worthlessness, which is a second core fear which I think we can all kind of imposter syndrome. And I'm not good enough. And I think we can all identify with that on some level. And the third core fear was abandonment, which is what will people think if I fail, and then he talked a little bit about the ways that we we try to deal with these fears without actually dealing with them, which is obviously a big one is numbing agents and vices, whether that's Twitter or buying things or alcohol or whatever, procrastination And he also talked about the motivation fallacy where if you don't actually handle these fears, you'll like so many of us have gotten in this spurt will actually basically just describe this, but it's like, I'm gonna get it before I am every day. And that's cyclical, like you can't do that forever. So you can do pushes, but eventually that motivation is going to wane. Unless you handle, you know, the, the root of some of these fears. So the solution of this is to minimize your fear and internal resistance. And a lot of people don't do this, because they're unaware that they even have those fears. And that's kind of where I was coming from. Like, he said, these things. I was like, oh, yeah, that that all makes total sense. But I was kind of unaware that those were going on subconsciously. Michele Hansen 20:42 Are there any of those fears that you feel like you really identify with as it relates to this whole? Colleen Schnettler 20:50 I think I mean, I think for me, part of the reason I haven't really wanted to push is like I said, like, I'm very blessed in my, my life is really good right now. So I don't want to do anything that upsets the balance of the happiness that I feel right now. But I think a lot of that too, might be abandonment, and it's not abandonment in this great big, like, I don't care what the internet people think of me. But you know, of my family. Like if I'm going to work more, how is that? What, what are what's going to happen with my relationship with my husband and my children? And those are the most important things. So I think that might have been a core fear for me. Yeah. Oh, man, all of them. Michelle, like and I don't even think I would have been like, I don't have any fears. I'm fine. Before this talk. Uncertainty. That's a big one, too. Because, as you know, as independent as entrepreneurs, we are constantly uncertainty. I mean, it's constant uncertainty, right? Every day, like, what should I do? I don't know what to do. Is this gonna work? Is this gonna work? I have no idea. I have no one to ask. So that's a stressful thing. Like it's not a bad thing. But it is. It's kind of a constant stress. Like, I don't know if this is gonna work. Yeah. So yeah, I took away from it. And I was I was feeling it. I was digging it. It sounds Michele Hansen 22:03 like it was an awesome talk. And I feel like I joined everyone else who wished that they had been at founder summit and having a little bit of FOMO, about missing that. But at the same time, it was like right after my, basically spur of the moment negotiations workshop that I had, like, maybe 20 minutes to plan out in my head during lunch. And I had so much adrenaline after that, that I got through the next talk, which was a great panel on sales for founders. But I like I had so much adrenaline I couldn't sit still. And I was like, I just like I have I have to go like walk like I need to like walk back to the hotel. And I ended up like walking back with some other some other people. And it was like a half hour walk. And I just like really needed that because I was like, jumping out of my skin with energy. Colleen Schnettler 22:57 Yeah, well, you did a great job. I loved your negotiation talk. I learned a lot out of that, too. I don't know if I told you that. Oh, yeah. So it was interesting, because you set us up to do the sample negotiation. It's one thing to talk about negotiation, I think it's another thing to do it. So what's give a quick read, I'll give a quick recap, you basically set us up where we were the person who lived under the person who was a piano player, and the piano player wanted to play his piano every night at 10pm. And we had little children, and we wanted him not to play his piano every night at 10pm. And so I'm talking to the person I'm paired up with. And he's talking about playing his piano. And I immediately just got so angry, and like, I'm not really an angry person. And I like in my head, like, I can see I can see my my mental energy, like rolling my eyes, like, oh my god, he was pretending to be like, 20 right? He was not actually 20 But um, you know, just mentally rolling my eyes like, oh my god, millennials. Give me a break. Stop playing your piano. You're such a anyway. Yeah. So that was really enlightening for me. Because I think I pride myself on like, being very good at having self awareness about my emotions and controlling my emotions. And like, I could not I almost rolled my eyes at him. So Michele Hansen 24:15 yeah, the the, the sort of setup was it was actually that that activity, we did it in my Danish class. And I was like, this is a great negotiation. Like, it wasn't the purpose of it. But it was, you know, you have one person who's a music student who can, because of their schedule, they can only practice at 10 o'clock at night. But per the apartment building rules, they don't have to be quiet until 11. And then you were the parent whose children are getting woken up. And then you you all had to like talk through it. It was it was really fun. And I think after that I had a couple people be like, oh, like, is this your next book? And like, I'm Colleen Schnettler 24:53 like, no, because I'm taking care of my personal health. Not ready to write another book, but okay, that was not Michele Hansen 24:59 the end. answer I gave you like, maybe should have been, why not? No. I mean, like, I started working with teaching people about customer interviews and customer research, like, four years ago, like, because like my friends and I ran a job speed on meetup in DC. And I started talking to other founders about it and stuff like that. So I like before I ever sat down to write, I not only had, you know, years of like, personal experience with it, and personal learning and learning from other people and whatnot, but also years of, of, of learning how to teach other people about it, and what are the common hiccups with it? hiccups? And you know, what, like, like, what resonates with people like all that kind of stuff? Well, before I ever sat down to write, versus like, I don't think I'm nearly the same level of, of expertise in negotiating. Like, I have a lot of practice in it. I've taken classes on it. Like, I guess that was, I don't know, I guess, like 334 years ago now. But like, that was the first time I have ever attempted to teach anyone else about negotiating. Colleen Schnettler 26:19 And what great, did a great job, Michele Hansen 26:21 thank you. Um, but I think I think I need to like a lot, a lot more time before I even get the point of of like thinking about whether that's a book or whatnot, though I am like, I did talk to other people there, who are also interested in like enterprise sales and negotiating and stuff like that. And so we actually will have some people on in the coming months, who will, we'll kind of like, talk more about that stuff. Because I think that's a big part of kind of going from, you know, the sort of stage you're in which I feel like is sort of like the under 10k a month, Mr. Phase, going 10 to 20 is really like for me, it was a lot about learning how to do sales, and definitely going from like, 20 to 50. Like you. I don't think I would have gotten to that point. Had I not had a better understanding of sales and negotiating. Yeah. So, so, yeah, I'm gonna I'm going to talk more about that. But But no, like, no book yet. I still haven't even hit your like, 20 podcast goal for promoting deploy empathy, like you're doing? Well, Colleen Schnettler 27:35 I think you have been on quite a lot. 10 or so. Okay. 12 I Michele Hansen 27:40 think I just recorded another one. The other day, I think, yeah, I just did one yesterday. And then I have two scheduled. Nice, I need to like have a spreadsheet and keep track. Colleen Schnettler 27:57 Yeah, Michele Hansen 27:59 um, you could do that. I could. Yeah. That would make sense. It's getting weirdly hard to track how many books I've sold, because like amazon online will only show me 90 days at a time. So I can't just go and like see all that's weird sold. Like I maybe again, if somebody like knows about this, like, let me know. But I'm in like the KDP reports dashboard. And then the reports beta and like, I sneak looks like I might need to like do it manually? Or at least like by month. And then. Yeah, so I don't I don't know. I'm also starting to give some more like, like, sort of private workshops with the book, like, I'm going to be speaking to an MBA class tomorrow online. And a friend asked me if like, I would speak to their marketing team, like do like a workshop. So we'll kind of see how that goes. I don't think I want to go too much in that direction. Like I don't want to be like, you know, selling like a day long workshop thing. Like we've talked about how I really don't want to do consulting, Colleen Schnettler 29:05 right? You have mentioned that a few times. Michele Hansen 29:10 But like maybe doing a workshop and you know, then they buy like 50 copies of the book. You know, I guess I'm cool with that. Colleen Schnettler 29:15 Yeah, seems like a good use of your time. If you enjoy it. Michele Hansen 29:19 Yeah, but I think I you know, I think for me, the big thing is like what does balance even mean? I mean, I I don't know. Colleen Schnettler 29:29 Yeah, I understand the question. But I think it's James clear has this really interesting thing about the how balance isn't a real before burners theory, the downside of work life balance. Have you seen this? Michele Hansen 29:44 Oh, that sounds familiar that like you have one burner going and then you can't have Okay, Colleen Schnettler 29:49 ready? Here it goes. four burners like your stove. The first burner represents your family, the second burners, your friends, the third burners, your health, and the fourth burner is your work. The four burners theory says that in order to be successful, you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful, you have to cut off to anyway, here's a whole article about it. It's an interesting, interesting idea. But the idea is there isn't a real thing such as balance, there are times where you shift your focus. Like, for example, you this would be a good time for you to shift your focus from work, because you've been working so much for 610 years, to maybe health or whatever it would be right. And maybe it's time for me to shift my focus back to work. But the idea is, it's like, you really can't have balance. It's a lie. You can just have, you know, areas that are shifting and priorities. I can't have everything on five. Right, right, exactly. You can't have everything on five. Yeah. It's kind of interesting. And it kind of makes us all of us who are so hard trying to find balance a little bit better, because you're like, oh, okay, this sounds about right. This seems reasonable. Michele Hansen 30:56 Yeah, I guess. I mean, he's the habits guy, right. Like he's the habits guy. Yeah. So I guess I need to finally read that book. So yeah, so So that's our 90 day plan. Right? So you're gonna Yeah, you've got my herd nanny now. I mean, always, you've got your plan in action. Colleen Schnettler 31:17 I'm an act and I'm gonna Michele Hansen 31:19 continue marinating. Oh, my God, it sounds like you. You were like, I'm gonna read more about this and think more. Like, I was like, I'm gonna do this now. Already done. I did it before I talked to you. Yeah, happening? Colleen Schnettler 31:38 I know, right? It's good, though, right? Because we both have, it's good, I guess. Yeah, I'm already in action. I've already posted more content. And I am making a video tutorial page. And I'm doing all kinds of things. And oh, the only thing I really got out of it, Michelle was a real focus, thinking more long term. So I think one of the things is we met a lot of people who have been running their businesses. I mean, I know you're kind of in this group. But I've been running their businesses for many, many years. And there were many people I met who aren't really trying to have some big exit, like they want to build a sustainable business that they can work on for as long as they want. And so that really helped me focus in terms of like thinking about where I want to spend my time and my energy and what I want my long term outlook from, like, for my career to look like? So I found that to be really beneficial. Michele Hansen 32:33 Was there any, like insights that you feel like are? Yeah, I think his point, Colleen Schnettler 32:39 what I found is, so I told you, I'm going to I'm really gonna push on simple file upvote, simple file upload for the next three months, simple file up vote, that sounds interesting. For the next couple months to kind of see what I can do with that if I really work at it. But I think long term, I am more interested in pursuing the opportunity, like really leaning into what to the Hammerstone team. Because when I think of the long term business I want to build, I can't think of anything better than doing really technically challenging work with my friends. Like I love as we've talked about when I joined Hammerstone, like I love having co workers or co founders. And that's really where I want to go. Right now I'm doing okay, splitting my time. But that's not sustainable in the long term. So I'm not sure what that looks like in a year. But it looks like my focus being more on Hammerstone. I think Michele Hansen 33:29 something else we talked about was, you know, the fact that you like you guys are funded for a year. And like the fact that you are funded for a year made you feel like you can take a year to get some stuff done, and how you can get more than that done in a year, too. Colleen Schnettler 33:51 So Jimmy from banal got up there talking about this was a founder summit about how to sell something that doesn't exist. Now his product is very specific, and it was very targeted was, you know, targeted to a very specific group of people. But I am not doing so I don't have the rails component for this query builder that I'm building with Hammerstone. But I also haven't really been doing anything to get the word out about it. And so yeah, we're funded for a year and I feel like the work is filling the time allotted. And the work doesn't necessarily need to fill the time allotted. I think I could be a little more efficient and a little more focused. Not that I'm not focused just there's more I could be doing on the Hammerstone side that I'm not and so it really kind of opened my eyes to like there's a lot of other opportunities here. You could get a content machine going now even if you can't sell it for six months, I could be writing articles about all this really interesting sequel stuff I'm doing whatever it may be point being like there's there's things I can put in place earlier. You know, as as I build this component, Michele Hansen 34:52 you know, hearing you talk about like it being time to push it almost. I feel like you're conceptualizing it as like this, like, switch, you can flick, like that, like, Okay, now like now you're gonna push like, do you feel like that is? How it's gonna work? So I Colleen Schnettler 35:15 don't know, but a little bit like, let's go back to simple file. I've been a little bit mopey about it, what should I do? What should I do on Monday? Like, I know exactly what to do, right? It's like, I haven't been really trusting my own intuition here. I've been asking for permission or advice. And these are all good things. Advice is good. But why am I asking people for? Like, I want someone to say that's a good idea. Colleen, you should do that. No, I don't need it. It's my business. I get to do whatever the hell I want with it. So, you know, people like you shouldn't do this. You shouldn't. Um, I Okay. I appreciate everyone's advice, and I solicit it. But also, I think I you know, I just really, it's a very small product still, like, I'm just going to go with my gut. And I'm just going to do what I think is best. And I haven't really been doing that, because I have been so careful about overworking myself, I guess. Michele Hansen 36:06 And so I feel like that that I mean, that comes back to that like fear that we talked about, like waiting for somebody else. To say that your plan of action. Your idea is your decision. Good was a good one. Yes. subjective opinion, to massage your fear. That yes, it was totally and is that like, you know, uncertainty about the about the decision or all these other things? I don't know. Colleen Schnettler 36:36 Yeah, no, totally. I think for me, I'm really worried about making a decision that is going to be a waste of time. That's what it's about. Because my time feels so So, so limited. So I'm like, should I write this article? Is this article worth writing? Like, if it's gonna take me three hours to write it? Is that going to be worth it? Right, I just wrote the freakin article on the airplane home for Mexico. Oh, while I was stuck in DFW for 12 hours and then and then flew to a different city and then bus to my city that I actually live in the graveyard. Michele Hansen 37:03 Both took both of us 14 hours to get home yet I went across like, two continents. Oh my goodness. But also it was a bazillion times worth it to travel 14 hours to and from to be there. Colleen Schnettler 37:18 And I think something else. Speaking of founders comp, being amazing. The quality of everything was just so much better than your typical tech conference. Oh Michele Hansen 37:26 my god. Yeah, Colleen Schnettler 37:27 everything was better. Michele Hansen 37:28 The food was amazing. The venue like I loved how I mean, you were saying how like a lot of conferences, you're just in the hotel. And we were like, out and about in the city like everything all over the city. And it was such a cool city too. And I feel like we really got to experience like culture and and just in a way that yeah, you're you're not just like stuck in a hotel ballroom for three days. Colleen Schnettler 37:51 Like, okay, so this is not a dig because I love rails comp. But I remember it was the last rails comp I went to before COVID. They're like, Oh, it's in Minneapolis. Minneapolis is a great city, blah, blah, blah, literally, you stay in the hotel, and then you walk through the breezeway to the ballroom, you never go outside, ever. And point being like yeah, of course, you can go outside but, but all of the activities are like you you never leave it you don't ever have to leave the hotel. And so I loved how founders comp really made an effort to get local venues, support, you know, local businesses, and actually see Mexico City loved it. Michele Hansen 38:29 I I really, really hope they have it in Mexico City next year. Like dude, Colleen Schnettler 38:33 I hope we get to again get in because there's going to be freaking every one is going to want to go it's going to add the fight to the death and who gets to go. Geez. Michele Hansen 38:45 Well, I think I think that about wraps up our recap, though. I feel like we're gonna be talking about this. And like, Oh, yes. So many learning summit for a long time. Yeah, so many learning, and also having people come on the show who we met at founder Summit, and no, and no three founders Summit, too. Because there's also the the online community, which you should totally be in a mastermind group, by the way. Colleen Schnettler 39:13 Yeah, I'm thinking about that. Like, I, I think that's probably a valuable thing. I'll probably do that. And I Michele Hansen 39:18 think that would help with you're like, Should I do this? And then people are like, yeah, and you're like, Yeah, okay. Colleen Schnettler 39:26 I feel like a lot of this is just trusting your gut, which I'm usually pretty good at. But like, with the business since it's all new, like I just haven't really just been doing what I think is best. Like I said, I've been asking permission just to random people, which is kind of weird, because I don't want to make a huge misstep. But the truth is, all of these things, none of them are going to be huge missteps and they can all be changed if it's a bad decision. So so that's really this week. I've been crushing some life, but by work work, is what I mean by that. Like, I've just been like, I've been I've just been like really crushing it and it feels great. So Michele Hansen 39:58 it's awesome. Awesome well so next week I interviewed Matt wensing was super fun so then we will chat again in two weeks Colleen Schnettler 40:12 sounds great talk to you then
Nov 8th — In 2019 Daniel Vassallo left his $500k salaried job at Amazon to go indie . In the 2 years since he left Daniel has placed many small bets, something he's become known for. In particular Daniel has seen success from his Info Products and building his audience on Twitter , which has grown from 0 to 91k. He wrote a short book on the good parts of AWS , which has made $126,000, then following the Twitter growth, wrote a book called Everyone Can Build a Twitter Audience , which has made $244,000. He shares all of his revenue reports in his Profit and Loss community , which in itself has made over $30k in the past year. In total, and in just over 2 years, Daniel has made $570k in revenue and $306k in profit since leaving his job at Amazon. But he's gained something he didn't have while working for someone else, freedom. ➡️ Get the uncut, 80 minute recording with Daniel on the Indie Feast membership here. What we covered in this episode: Leaving a $500k job at Amazon to go Indie The trap of judging your life based on financial value Why the initial focusing on one product didn't work out for Daniel Where the small bets mindset originated How to deal with context switching with small bets Dealing with an uncertain income Why info products work well for a small bets strategy How book publishers work and how we can apply their methods The importance of the "small" in small bets How you can build a twitter audience like Daniel Why Daniel started making wooden cutting boards How he made $2,600 from one tweet Recommendations Book: Anti Fragile by Nassim Taleb Podcast: Indie Hackers Indie Hacker: Peter Askew More on Daniel Twitter On the IH pod His most popular articles Follow Me Twitter Indie Bites Twitter Personal Website Buy A Wallet 2 Hour Podcast Course Sponsor - Fathom Analytics For the longest time, website analytics software was seriously bad. It was hard to understand, time-consuming to use, and worse, it exploited visitor data for big tech to profit. I've spent countless hours in Google Analytics dashboards trying to figure even out the most basic metrics. This is exactly why I signed up for Fathom as soon as I heard Paul Jarvis and Jack Ellis were building it. Fathom is simple website analytics that doesn't suck. It's easy to use and respectful of privacy laws, with no cookies following your users around the web. They're also a bootstrapped, sustainable business so I love supporting them. Yes, it might feel strange paying for analytics at first, but once you realise the real cost of free Google Analytics and realising how easy to use Fathom is, you won't go back. You can install the lightweight code on as many websites as you want and quickly see the performance of all your sites. Link → https://usefathom.com/bites
Nov 3rd — Today I'm talking to Spencer Fry (@spencerfry), the founder of Podia. His business is super relevant right now because it is basically a one-stop shop to support creators and entrepreneurs. In this episode we discuss the importance of planning, how to iterate on a plan and how to stay persistent. Follow Spencer on Twitter: https://twitter.com/spencerfry Check out Podia: https://www.podia.com/ Ready Spencer's blog: http://www.spencerfry.com/
Oct 31st — Harry Morton is the founder of Lower Street Media , a podcast production agency that specialises in premium podcasts for ambitious companies. Lower Street are the agency behind top shows such as Secret Leaders , Technology Untangled and WFH Daily . Harry's business has skyrocketed since COVID, doubling in size of revenue and headcount in the last 6-months as more companies start to realise how effective podcasting can be. Harry also runs Single Track Conf , a 3-day mountain-biking founder retreat. ➡️ Here's my course on starting a podcast in 2 hours or less <em> (use "bites" for $10 off)</em> What we covered in this episode: Why start an agency? it's not exactly a dream business to start. How Harry grew Lowerstreet through cold outreach 1st client, Ultimate Leadership Podcast Why the productising model didn't work out for Lowerstreet What Harry did in the early days for growth How losing 30% of revenue was a catalyst for growth Doubling the agency revenue in 6 months Quitting his job with no savings to start Lowersteet Not knowing what to do when starting the company Addressing shiny object syndrome Why focus vs portfolio of projects argument is BS The secret sauce for making a sh*t hot podcast How to make a show that stands out Starting a mountain bike community Recommendations Book: Out on The Wire by Jessica Abel Podcast: Startup Indie Hacker: Andrew Wilkinson Follow Harry Twitter LinkedIn Follow Me Twitter Indie Bites Twitter Personal Website Buy A Wallet Sponsor - 2 Hour Podcast Yes, that's right, I'm sponsoring my own show 🤯 After producing hundreds of podcasts for myself and clients, I've been pouring all of my knowledge into my new course, 2 Hour Podcast, which shows you how to start, grow and monetize a podcast that takes you less than 2 hours per week. I know lots of people who want to start a pod and reap the rewards, but struggle to find the time, which is exactly why I made this course. I've taken a three-pronged approach to making a podcast efficiently. The first is a step-by-step video guide to creating your show, covering everything from branding, to editing to hosting. The second part is a 90 minute tutorial where I make a my own podcast completely from scratch, recording the first episode with Arvid Kahl, using the tips from part 1. The final prong is my full Notion system for creating my show, including my episode CRM, guest and outreach templates, plus an episode briefing doc. Head to 2hourpodcast.com to get the full course and get $10 off with the code "bites" at checkout.
Oct 28th — Jack Ellis is the co-founder of Fathom Analytics , started with Paul Jarvis in 2019. Jack handles the technical side of the business, but isn't afraid to get on the mic on their podcast, Above Board, or send out some spicy tweets. Jack also runs the Serverless Laravel course , which he launched back in 2020. After this conversation Jack has turned into a true friend, speaking with me for several hours after, a genuinely nice chap. You’re going to want the same thing after listening to this pod. Jack talks with great wisdom on how to approach bootstrapping a SaaS company and taking on a huge incumbent. ➡️ Here's my course on starting a podcast in 2 hours or less <em> (use "bites" for $10 off)</em> What we covered in this episode: What is Fathom Analytics Joining as a co-founder after the company was founded How Fathom started How did they know Fathom was going to work What growth tactics did Fathom use to grow? How did they convince people to pay for analytics? The trade-off of free software How do you compete in a market with a huge incumbent Starting a medium competitor, Pico Benefits of having a co-founder Quitting a job for Jack's first side-project Starting a course (Serverless Laravel) that made $150,000 Recommendations Book: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Podcast: Huberman Lab Indie Hacker: N/A Follow Jack Spicy Tweets Personal Website Follow Me Twitter Indie Bites Twitter Personal Website Buy A Wallet Sponsor - Part Time Tech Jobs Thank you to my friend Charlie from Weekend Club for sponsoring this episode, with his new project Part Time Tech Jobs , which is a fantastic site for finding and posting, you guessed it, part time tech jobs If you’re looking to transistion from a full-time role to indie hacking, finding a part time role might be just the thing for you to de-risk that transition. And on the other side, if you’re looking to hire great entrepreneurial talent without breaking the bank, this is where you should post. So if you’re looking for a part time tech job, head to parttimetechjobs.co or if you’re looking for tech talent, use the code INDIEBITES for 80% off all featured posts.
Oct 27th — Today I'm talking to Sonal Chokshi, one of the biggest experts on building a media business that I know. Currently she's the Editor-in-Chief at a16z. In this episode we'll talk about creating content in a world where media moves so quickly. Follow Sonal on Twitter: https://twitter.com/smc90 Pitch Future: https://future.a16z.com/pitch-us
Oct 26th — Follow Rosie! https://twitter.com/rosiesherry Check out Rosieland: https://rosie.land/ Michele Hansen 0:01 This episode of Software Social is brought to you by Reform. As a business owner, you need forms all the time for lead capture, user feedback, SaaS onboarding, job applications, early access signups, and many other types of forms. Here's how Reform is different: - Your brand shines through, not Reform's - It's accessible out-of-the-box ... And there are no silly design gimmicks, like frustrating customers by only showing one question at a time Join indie businesses like Fathom Analytics and SavvyCal and try out Reform. Software Social listeners get 1 month for free by going to reform.app/social and using the promo code "social" on checkout. Hey, welcome back to software social. I am so excited this week to have with us the woman the myth, the legend, Rosie Sherry. Hello. So excited to have you. So you were I founder of Ministry of Testing, lead community at Indie Hackers, which is probably how many people listening know you, currently leading community for Orbit. Also have your own thing going on Rosieland, which is a community about community. So excited to talk to you. Rosie Sherry 1:30 Thank you, thank you. It's good to be here. Michele Hansen 1:33 So I want I want to start out with something something I noticed when I think about your background is how you've kind of gone between being a founder yourself, and intentionally working for other people also having sort of other things going on. And, you know, on the show in the past, we've kind of talked a little bit about how sometimes there's this perception that there's this sort of like staircase of an entrepreneurs career where you start out working for other people, and then maybe you have an info product, and then maybe you do consulting, and then you do an info product, and then you have a SAS and then I don't know, and it's like this sort of like staircase. And there's this sort of like implied increase in virtue throughout all of that. And then if you're taking backwards steps, that's seen as like, literally like a step backwards. And it's like this ladder rather than being this kind of what I'm more see in people's actual careers, which is kind of moving between different things as their interests lead them and as their life leads them. I feel like I see that in your career. And I'm kind of curious how you think about these shifts you've made between working for yourself and working for other people? And like, like, kind of all of that. Rosie Sherry 2:45 Yeah, it's kind of like steps going up and down, right? Or going up and down or left, I guess, an elevator? Yeah, I mean, I have like, no idea what I'm doing. But I guess like, I kind of go with the flow. When I when I stepped back from Ministry of testing, I had been doing that for 10 years. And I thought, like, as I was stepping back, I thought I'd never work for someone else's, like my plan was to take some time off and just like, take it easy for it. And just, I don't know, see what I wanted to do. And I knew I kind of wanted to, like focus in on community, but I wasn't sure how. And then, like, the opportunity with indie hackers came up. And I was like, Oh, you know, this could be fun. This could be interesting. I think I could learn a lot from how courtland has built community there. It's similar to ministry testing, in some ways, but yet, it's, it's really different. So I kind of just jumped on that, like, you know, earlier, earlier than I had planned. I was I was a contractor there for the whole time. And I was there for two years as a contractor. And basically, we just kept renewing the contract, like every three to six months. So it wasn't like it was the plan, stay there. And apparently surprised that I stayed there for two years, I thought I wouldn't last I thought I wouldn't be able to kind of work for someone else after like doing my own thing for 10 years. That was interesting. There's a lot of benefit, especially, I think, perhaps more these days where everything just seems I just feel like there's so much opportunity out there. And there's a lot of things that I didn't like about running a business. I didn't necessarily want to manage people, I didn't want to do the accounts, I didn't want to worry about money or worry about, you know, the future of, of the business. So yeah, I mean, this, you know, loads of things about running a business that I think people try to glorify, they try to hide, they try to not talk about it. But you know, it can be stressful. And I think my realization after running the Ministry of testing, is actually I don't, I don't want to run a company and employ people. I don't want to be responsible for someone's wages at the point of life that I that I am in at the moment. might might change over time, but right now Yeah, I'd rather like I guess, do something more for me something more, you know, focusing on, like my interest in things that that I need. And yeah, and I guess like contracting, bringing home a paycheck, that's great. But you know, for me, it's been, you know, it was great, I saved up a bunch of money, I didn't actually spend any of the money that I made in the hackers. So that was like a nice, consistent income for me to like, you know, get our family more and more of a safety net. Now, my Uber and I never, ever considered working for a startup people have it. Yeah, it's, it's new. For me, it's different from me. But this negative, there's a lot of pros as well. So I try to kind of be mindful of all of that. And, you know, there's days, I just want to pack it all in and say, I can't be bothered, I should just go back to being independent. But there are other days where I'm just like, no, this is actually really good. I'm enjoying what I'm doing this, you know, there's a great team that I'm working with. And again, you know, I get paid well, I don't have to worry about money, I don't have to invoice people the money every month in my bank account. And I'm like, Oh, this is nice. This is, you know, this nice not just to show up and do the work. Michele Hansen 6:11 You mentioned how it was stressful, being responsible for people's paychecks. And I totally relate to that. I think it's one of the reasons why we haven't really, you know, formally hired here, right? Like, I have a VA, but you strike me as someone who you know, and this comes through so much in your work for indie hackers in your work on community who like deeply cares about other people, and supporting them and encouraging them and helping them reach their goals, and you know, and be that person they want to be. And I wonder if that almost made it harder to be running a company and responsible for people's income when you felt so responsible for those outcomes and really invested in them as people? Rosie Sherry 6:57 Yeah, I mean, it's actually interesting, because I still own in ministry, testing, or co owner, when you're founded, you kind of like, I guess, the foundation of everything that comes later, to a certain extent. So like, the fact that I worked when I wanted, the fact that I had five kids, the fact that I just like took time off when I needed to the fact that I defined, you know, decided my own hours, all of those things, ended up becoming how things were done administrator testing, and it's become more apparent, I guess, as the team, I think about eight or nine people at the moment, at first, you know, I was only one with kids. And, you know, I was very much family friendly person, I would support, you know, everything about me is like, we need to live our own lives as well. We need to have flexibility, you know, work shouldn't stop us having having a family and doing things that we want to do. And at first, it was like, just me it was kids. But then like, as the years have gone, I think last year, there were three new babies born within the company, and as a team with like nine people that's like, oh, wow, how are we gonna manage this as like, as a company, even though it's not my responsibility anymore. There's a CEO running it. But he very much took on the philosophy of like, well, this is how Rosie has always done it. So this is what everybody else gets to do as well. So we let the mothers choose what they want to do. We let them you know, take the time off that they need to take time off, and have a say, and there's no there's no judgment for any of it. And we listen, and we care and we try to make good decisions, even even if it costs us money, right. And like, as a small company, and you have three of your people off on maternity leave is a big kind of hit. But it's not something that feels wrong, it very much feels right and like allowing everybody just to choose the time that they have off and pay in the world. And you know, making sure that they get a fair deal when they're often on maternity leave is to me, you know, I couldn't do it any other way. Because it would feel hypocritical. And for me, it's just like, I can't have once that rule to me and like different set of rules for For everyone else, even if I never took maternity leave properly. I believe like, you know, everybody else should have had that right to do that. I guess. Michele Hansen 9:20 It sounds like a bit like Golden Rule management, like treating others as how you would want to be treated. Rosie Sherry 9:26 Yeah, I don't understand why companies can't do that. can't comprehend it. And it's probably why I haven't. It took me I guess it's probably why it took me a long time to actually end up working for other people. Because without listen to the pandemic, because just like nobody was truly flexible enough in their thinking about how people showed up for work. And I've been working from home all this time on my own rolls, and then the pandemic comes along and I'm just like, still working the same way that I was working before. This ain't nothing changed for me day to day, but for everyone else. Or, you know, like a huge majority of people, life change and companies rethought their processes and what was acceptable and what wasn't acceptable. And the fact that we can all work from home now I think is is great, but at the same time is unlike Well, why couldn't we do this before we could have. But companies, you know, I guess like it wasn't urgent enough to think of our needs until the pandemic came along. Michele Hansen 10:26 And, you know, you mentioned how your life didn't change all that much with the pandemic. Yeah, I want to detour for a second because I understand that so you have five children, and you unschool them and it would just be interesting for a moment just to talk about not only what does that look like but also you know, you mentioned your whole life didn't change much. And I'm kind of curious what does that home life look like between you and your husband with this sort of unschooling elements layering on top of also like your, your work life? Like how does all of that work together? Rosie Sherry 11:02 Yeah, it's tough. I think like unschooling, I think the toughest part about unschooling, I think is, or even homeschooling is about making that kind of adjustment to life, like trying to instead of like, you know, if if kids go to school, you know, you have the six, eight hour block of time to kind of get work done and you can plan things around that with unschooling is like, well, you kind of have to plan for your kids. And then you have to plan your work around your kids, and you have to juggle things. With me, it's with my husband, we like have equal share on like, the kids in the house. And I just think that's the hardest part is like most people, probably, I guess I feel I feel privileged to be able to do that at the moment. But like, I guess, like, the thing I do is like, we're having this chat for me, it's in the morning. And that's like, not my normal schedule. So the like, normally like I'm online from midday till eight, and I'm with my kids from when they wake up until midday. And then at midday, me my husband swapped over. And that's those are the, that's the deal we have right now, to make things work. And so, in the morning, I would normally take my kids to a class that they have or a group that they go to, and it works, I guess, to try and to split that time, it changes all the time as as my work changes, or as my husband's work changes, we find ways to adapt and I guess that's the magic of unschooling, I guess like unschooling is like, we're always, I guess, we're always looking for things that our kids want to do to keep them active. So every day, especially our younger ones, who are between the age of three and 10. You know, getting them out out the house once a day is like basically our goal. And that happens in different ways at the moment, except for school, beach school, art class, sports, or football. And then other days that we hire, or we pay a friend to take them out for the day. She's like a single mom, and appreciates extra bit bit of income. It's tough, it really is tough. And it's like we have to say no to things a lot of the time, but I think at the same time, I think like the pandemic has kind of worked in my favor as well. Now that everyone's online, I feel like what's the right word? I guess previous to the pandemic, I felt like I was only one needing to have the flexibility. But I think like these days, it's it's more more acceptable. I guess, everyone's more accommodating, like having kids in the background is okay. Pre pandemic, that was not okay. You know, stuff like that, you know, despite COVID I appreciate how the world has changed. We feel it feels weird. I don't know. What do you think it feels? It feels weird to? Yeah, to say that. But I think you know, actually, there's been positives from COVID. Michele Hansen 13:57 I think it's forced us to reevaluate things and maybe shifts that were happening very slowly, like you mentioned, you know, more work from home and maybe more flexibility shifts that were happening very, very slowly, or only in very specific corners of the economy were kind of thrust on everyone all at once, which was both traumatic and also sped up things that needed to happen to at the same time at great cost to everyone involved, Beto as you said, like, you know that it's acceptable to have children in the background or even a dog barking, like I remember two years ago, you know, before COVID, and I was having a call and my dog barked in the back because the mailman was there or whatever. Like, I always felt so embarrassed on the call. And, you know, I remember sometimes, you know, the people, you know, whoever I was having a, you know, customers having call with, or one of them being like, Oh yeah, you know, we have a dog friendly office too. And I was just like, Yeah, like, dog friendly office, you know, that whole thing of like being a really small company and not wanting? Yes, I'm actually like working from home like that being kind of like something to be sheepish about, you know, like that you were working from home because it was like, What? Like, can you not afford an office? Are you not legit enough to have an office? Like, do you not like it used to prompt so many questions, most of them not very, like, positively reflecting on the company. But then all of a sudden, you know, so many of us, you know, who were lucky enough to be working from home, everybody was working from home, everybody, you know, had kids in the background dogs in the background cats on their keyboard, like, you know, and we all just had to learn how to be a little bit more understanding with one another. Rosie Sherry 15:41 Well, human right, I think like, we, we've learnt to appreciate and see that we all live in different circumstances, and we should adapt to that, and we should make sure it's okay. You know, almost like, I guess, like, the whole diversity movement, I guess, in the past few years is, you know, crept up. And, you know, to me, this is also like, part of it is like, we're all human, we're all people, we have different circumstances, that the sooner we can make that, okay for everyone to just like, be who they are opt in, opt out things, be able to, you know, not have shame for, for whatever it might be, I think like, the better the quicker, we can just like, move on and like, kind of focus on our work and get and get things done. Michele Hansen 16:38 Using shame, just there kind of reminded me of what we sort of started this conversation with, which is, you know, in your career, you have sort of intentionally and consciously moved between contracting and, and being a founder and working for other people. And when people come to a situation where they realize that maybe consulting isn't working for them, or they're trying to get their own SAS off the ground, and it's not working, and the finances are tight, and they're thinking about, you know, going out and getting a job. Yeah, it seems like people often feel a lot of shame around that. And then that feels like failure to them. And I think what your story shows that, you know, it's not linear. And, and I'm just kind of curious what you would say to someone who is kind of maybe at that point, who is wondering, you know, just, you know, that thing, things aren't, things aren't working, or the finances aren't there. And they've they've got to go back and, you know, get a job, like, what would you say to them? Rosie Sherry 17:56 I definitely felt this, like in the indie in the indie world, like, being immersed in that world. And, you know, people want to make it they want to be full time, indie hackers. And it almost becomes, like, a thing of like, what if you're not a full time indie hacker, then, like, you know, you're not a success really are there's only one way. And, you know, I almost, you know, thought that, you know, I thought even just like working in India, because I thought I wouldn't last I thought, you know, people, you know, I wouldn't make an impact. I wouldn't enjoy working with courtland, or all that kind of stuff. And even even when I joined indie hackers, the opportunity came up as a result of courtland looking for some social media help. And I was just like, at that point, I was just looking for something else to do. And like when I reached out to him, he was like, Yeah, but you're overqualified for this. I was like, Yeah, I know. But I'm, you know, I'm still like, yeah, I could do it. And, you know, I, I personally felt like I could learn from indie hackers. And that role ended up being more like of a community manager community lead role that he that he offered me. But did I feel shame, like doing that a little bit, but at the same time, as I, it doesn't matter, you know, I need to, you know, I really wanted just to have an excuse to do something else. And so yeah, I work for CEO, founder to social media and community manager, which is a step back, right? You know, on paper, it's a step back. But actually what it did for me was was huge, is like, before I joined India, because no one in the indie world really knew who I was. There's a few people here in there. But what it did for me was was massive. So I say I think a lot of the time choices, I guess, perhaps is that it's not all about money. It's not all about job titles. And we can dismiss job titles is not important. That's, you know, I think sometimes they can be but I think I think, if we think about, or like, the way I think about it is like, well, I want to do stuff, I want to learn stuff, and I want to work on things I care about. And does it matter if it's starting your own thing? or working for someone else? I don't think it really does. I think, at least for me, it's like, you know, five, finding, finding the right people to work with is, is key. And yeah, I mean, there's a lot of jobs that I'm sure would be sucky. And I see I definitely see people struggle, working for companies and being like, part indie part, like, working for companies. So yeah, I don't think like anything is necessarily Perfect. Perfect solution. But I guess it's like more about like, finding your fit what's right for you? How do you get to do the work that you do? Enjoy? How are you growing personally? And, like all, but I think I'm growing a lot personally. And also in, in my, I guess, desire to kind of impact the community world, I think I'm doing that. And I get access to stuff that I wouldn't, if I was trying to do all, all of that kind of stuff on my own. So yeah, there's definitely like, the pros and cons. So yeah, but but it's easy to think because when I joined, obey, it was at the back of my mind is that oh, my God, what will people think? I've been indie for, for 15 years. You know, should I actually take this job? Is it is it in conflict with, with who I am? Those are all that was definitely in the back of my mind, I can't, I won't lie about that. Yeah, I was nervous about announcing that. I'm not sure what people would think. But I think, at the end of the day is like, I'm still sticking to, to who I am, I'm still sticking to my values, I'm still pushing for the things that are important to me in all of it. And if I don't get those, and it's going to become a problem. You know, say, I'm still being me, in every, every space that I show up. And, and that's what's important to me, is that, and if I can't get that, then that's where it becomes a problem. For me, I think, Patrick, my boss, Michele Hansen 22:52 I noticed that you just said how you had this conflict around identity. And I feel like that's running undercurrent of a lot of time when people are having this struggle, is identifying as a founder, and all of the things that come with it, identifying as an indie hacker, identifying as someone who, you know, runs their own things and whatnot, and shifting identity into something else into, into, you know, who am I if I am not somebody who runs their own company? What does that say about me? Just who am I as as a person, I think in a world where we wrap up so much of our identity and what we do for work. That's a, that's a massive and can be quite a, you know, debilitating sort of shift and psychological process to go through. And yet what I also heard you say several times throughout the, the conversation is a reason why you took the job with indie hackers, or the contract with indie hackers, is because you wanted to learn and, and I wonder if that transition is a little bit smoother. When you think of, you know, there's you have this identity as an indie hacker, as a founder, you also have an identity as someone who likes to do other things. And one of those, I think, for you that really comes through is somebody who's curious, and who likes to learn and letting another identity almost kind of supplant that, that founder, one that's sort of, you know, taking a backseat. Rosie Sherry 24:40 Yeah, it's interesting. It actually brings me back to like minister testing and like when I stepped back, it was like, Oh my god, like, Who am I? Who am I going to be now I've been this testing person, this person, leading the testing community for so long. I'm almost leaving behind. And much of that, obviously they I still keep in touch with people, but I'm not in that world anymore. Yeah, it was, it was hard, it's hard to shift away from that and to figure out how to how to kind of redefine your life and who you want to be. And how do you get people to, I guess, to see that to know that and, and yeah, it's, it's tough and I guess like, right now with the indie stuff like, you know, I do Rosi land stuff on the side. But even that, I feel like oh, you know, I see a lot of the indie stuff happening, I still keep an eye on indie hackers. But, you know, at the same time I miss in the hacking as well, I don't do nearly as much as I would love. And, you know, I struggle with that. So it's like, how much of these different people can I be? How do I? How do I separate that? Do I need to separate that? And I mean, I was I was employed over it was no full well, knowing that I had all this stuff on the side. And that that had to continue to exist when I joined over it. But yeah, I feel like I definitely feel less a part of the indie world. Because just because I don't have the time to spend in it. And that makes me feel sad. Definitely sad. And I want to do more, but I can't just because because of time. But yeah, I don't even know where I'm going with this. But this constant shift of identity moving on, almost like shedding skin. All right, is that I shed my skin from history testing. I'm shedding my skin a bit from indie hackers, but not quite. And, you know, moving through life, I think, like, I think we almost become different people as we grow up. I mean, I think I'm in my early 40s now, and am I the same person? I was 10 years ago. So yes, but no. And that's okay. Yeah, I don't even know where I'm going. But yeah. Michele Hansen 27:31 It's interesting you say that I love how you dove into the identity shifts of that. And you're like, so even though you're no longer with, you know, indie hackers proper. I still think of you as the mama bear. The indie world is my head but like that's, that's it's you know, Rosie, Sherry mama bear of the indie hackers. Rosie Sherry 27:59 Well, I like that. I'll have to put that on my Twitter. But it's interesting, right? People will always remember you for different things. So there'll be people from the testing community who will always remember me for ministry testing, and things I did, and nothing will probably change as much in a ton of indie hackers out there will remember me as being the mom of their I love it. Yeah, and like, the more I do all of it, orbit, the more people associated me not with being indie, but being more all about community. And that's okay, as well. Right? And what does it mean is that, I don't know. But But I think like, I mean, you know, I guess it goes back to trends, life, the world changing, no one has careers for life anymore. And this is you know, probably I guess a proof of it is like, let's, you know, change as we grow, let's be okay with, like, actually discovering things. As we learn about ourselves, and as we learn about the world around us, and, and adapt and we should Yeah, I think we should all be able to do that and make make it feel okay. And make it you know, not not feel like step backwards, is you know, it's not a step backwards. It's just like, as you as an individual, you you're doing what's what's right for you at any point in your life. And that's, you know, that's okay. Michele Hansen 29:45 I'm reminded of the Walt Whitman, quote, I contain multitudes and, and I feel like what you're saying is, is about that we have many different identities and even the identities of us in other people's minds may be different than what we think of ourselves as or reflects a version of us in the past. And, you know, you're that that identity that you had as a founder, the identity you had, as the community person for indie hackers. As rosy land, as community person at orbit, like, all of those are valid, and they all exist, regardless of you know, what you're currently we're doing. And I feel like, what you're saying is, you don't really have to choose one, you know, you can still you can still have all of those pieces and so many more pieces of yourself. And, and it's okay to shift and change and grow. Rosie Sherry 30:54 No, think like, as as, I guess, like an unschooling approach to things we encourage, everything we do is like child led learning. And, like, I live that, that same philosophy in life is like, you know, I think like, like, as I get older, I just, I just can't spend any time on anything I don't enjoy. And then when I look at my kids, I'm like, why should they have to spend any time on the things that they don't enjoy, we should, like, you know, focus, focus all our energy as much as is possible to do the things that we love, because that's, that's like a really special place to be. And, like, at the moment, like, like, you know, I've been working for 23 years of my life, when I started out, working. Man, it was just like, a different place. And like, where I am, now, I'm like, this is just such a better place to be doing work that, that I love that I appreciate that, that, you know, I believe I can have impact on. And if I look back at myself, like 20 years ago, and see see where I am now, I say, I would have like, I guess, never, never imagined that this kind of life is possible. The life I had then was about working in jobs that I didn't really enjoy that much, or for companies that I wasn't really, that interested in what they were doing. And now it's like, everything's flipped to like, I'm working for a company that I believe in what they're doing, I enjoy the day to day work, we're aligned in the things that we want to do. And that's just like, Whoa, you know, how, you know, how great is that, to be a part of that. And regardless of the outcome, whether, you know, I continue to rise up in the company where they continue to get pay raises, whether whether orbit ends up, you know, growing massively in IPO, and that that doesn't matter. To me, it's like what matters is, you know, being able to do do what I love, right now. Michele Hansen 33:22 Follow the things you love, even if those things take you from entrepreneurship, to working for other people and changing your identity. And, yeah, Rosie Sherry 33:34 I look at Patrick, my, one of the cofounders I see some of the things that he has to do as a founder. And I'm like, I'm so glad I'm not doing that. And like I can see it as the founders because like, not not to the same extent, you know, they've raised money, it's a different game. But you know, that the same principles applies, like, I don't have to do any of that stuff. And I'm very happy about that. Michele Hansen 34:03 It sounds like you're in a good place. Now. I want I want to thank you for for joining us today. You know, we again, in this sort of indie world, we talk a lot about building in public and you know, I talked about writing in public. But something I am really valuing lately is when people are willing to be vulnerable in public. And I feel so much from that of that from you. And not only in on on Twitter, and your support of other people, but also here today. And, and I have a feeling that your story today is it's gonna make somebody at least one person feel feel less alone and feel feel better about their journey. Hopefully you know, less shame about Going from entrepreneurship to employment? Rosie Sherry 35:06 I hope so. I hope so. I try. I think it's, it's hard, I guess. I mean, I don't know what your experiences but like women in tech when in business, whether it's like, I guess it's hard to stand up to certain things and be open about the challenges that we have. And so yeah, I try my best, I think my confidence increases over time. I will say, I don't give a damn anymore, like what people think. I don't know if that comes of age. But like, you know, I definitely wasn't this open about everything before. So, yeah, part of me like does it to, to help other people see, I think it's important, like, who I am a woman, five kids on schooling. I kind of want to show people that. Yeah, yes, I'm a bit obsessive with the things that I want to do. I'm, like, you know, switched on, like, all the time, pretty much. But But I spend lots of time with my kids as well, you know, I managed to make it work. And I guess that my hope is that in time, like more people can be like this, if that's what they choose, you know, if they, if they can see the possibility. You know, it's done me a lot of good. And I guess, like, there must be more people out there that want something like this. And for them to be able to see an example. I guess is, is what's in the back of my mind when I tweet when I write when I do my things? Yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you. Yeah, Michele Hansen 36:59 thank you so much for yesterday. I've really enjoyed this conversation. Rosie Sherry 37:05 Thank you, Michelle. I appreciate catching up. Michele Hansen 37:08 If you enjoyed this episode, please let Rosie and I know on Twitter. You can find us at software social pot. Thanks
Oct 20th — Pete runs No CS Degree , among other things, sharing stories of people who have made it as a developer, without going down the traditional route of getting a computer science degree, showing how it's possible to earn a nice salary without going to university. He has also started High Signal , a community for revenue verified entrepreneurs, a site for finding fully remote companies and finally made 2 courses where you'll learn how to both monetize and grow your newsletter . ➡️ Here's my course on starting a podcast in 2 hours or less. What we covered in this episode Pete's crazy backstory How he got into entreprenuership Most inspiring story from No CS Degree How does Pete get revenue Getting a sponsor for a course How do you grow a newsletter Launching a monetize your newsletter course Doing a bundle deal with other indie hackers Starting the High Signal community Why some paid communities are bad Pete's nifty pricing trick Launching a job board Recommendations Book: Mindset by Carol Dweck Podcast: Indie Hackers Indie Hacker: Lachlan Kirkwood Follow Pete Twitter Website Follow Me Twitter Indie Bites Twitter Personal Website Buy A Wallet Thanks to this episode's sponsor, Churnkey It can be a huge challenge to keep churn down when your SaaS product starts to see traction. The founders of Churnkey know exactly how much of a challenge this can be, having collectively grown three SaaS companies to over $4m in ARR. They realized that they were thinking about cancellations all wrong. A relationship with a customer doesn’t stop with the “Cancel” button. So they built Churnkey, which reduces churn by up to 42% with custom cancellation flows. For every customer who clicks “Cancel,” Churnkey offers up dynamic offers that encourage customers to stay subscribed. Just connect Stripe and plug in a small bit of code. In minutes, you’ll be reducing churn by immediately unlocking subscription pauses, dynamic offers, and cancellation insights. See how much revenue Churnkey can recover for you. Visit churnkey.co to start your free trial.
Oct 20th — In this episode I'm talking with Andrew Warner (@AndrewWarner), the host of the Mixergy where he's interviewed over 2,000 founders in the tech and software space. His new book, Stop Asking Questions, breaks down everything he's learned about having a meaningful conversation and maximizing the value out of one-shot encounters. Learn how to have better conversations: https://www.stopaskingquestions.co/ Follow Andrew on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewWarner Check out Mixergy: https://mixergy.com/
Oct 19th — In this episode Colleen and Michele look back at their 14 months on podcasting to see how far they've come, and look forward to see where they want to go.
Oct 13th — Andrew Gazdeki (@agazdecki) has some contrarian viewpoints when it comes to the startup ecosystem today. I invited him here to find out about his beef with TechCrunch and how he is empowering founders with his own company, Microacquire. Follow Andrew on Twitter: https://twitter.com/agazdecki Check out Microacquire: https://microacquire.com/
Oct 13th — Mike Slaats is the founder of Upvoty, an instant feedback software which has recently hit $17k MRR. Mike also runs the SaaS pirates community, where he talks all about running a SaaS company. Previously, he scaled Vindy, an only marketplace for home development to 1m ARR in 5 years. What we covered in this episode Why did you start Upvoty? Stopping a $1m business to start from scratch Why your work should be fulfilling Should you be passionate about your audience? How to validate your idea How Mike got his first customers for Upvoty The value of an MVP and a landing page Why you should build runway or have an alternative income source How you can make your own luck Why indie hackers should build a personal brand Mike's one bit of advice for founders; validate How to build an MVP with the BML framework Recommendations Book: Intercom on Marketing Podcast: How I Built This Indie Hacker: Arvid Kahl Follow Mike Twitter YouTube SaaS Pirates Upvoty Follow Me Twitter Indie Bites Twitter Personal Website Buy A Wallet Thanks to Weekend Club for sponsoring Indie Bites. <em>‘I absolutely love being part of Weekend Club.’</em> <em>‘Huge fan of Weekend Club and I love being part of it.’</em> <em>‘Absolutely love this community.’</em> These are real testimonials for Weekend Club - the internet’s most helpful community for bootstrappers. If you’ve ever struggled meeting other solo founders and staying accountable, then this is for you. We offer weekly Saturday deep working sessions with up to 30 bootstrappers, such as the founders of Simple Poll and VEED, an active Slack community and over 100 software discounts. Go to weekendclub.co and enter a very limited promo code ‘Indie Bites’ for 50% off your first month.
Oct 12th — Go to deployempathy.com to buy the audiobook private podcast, physical book, or ebook! This episode of Software Social is brought to you by Reform. As a business owner, you need forms all the time for lead capture, user feedback, SaaS onboarding, job applications, early access signups, and many other types of forms. Here's how Reform is different: - Your brand shines through, not Reform's - It's accessible out-of-the-box ... And there are no silly design gimmicks, like frustrating customers by only showing one question at a time Join indie businesses like Fathom Analytics and SavvyCal and try out Reform. Software Social listeners get 1 month for free by going to reform.app/social and using the promo code "social" on checkout. AUTOMATED TRANSCRIPT Michele Hansen 0:01 Hey, everyone, Michele here. Colleen is at a conference this week. So doing something a little bit different this week and wanted to give you a preview of the audio book podcast for Deploy Empathy. So as I've kind of mentioned on previous episodes, I am releasing the audio book every week as a podcast as I record it. Part of the idea of this was kind of to sort of sort of do like I did with the newsletter with the book and sort of you know, do it and you know, sort of chapters at a at a time. And so I didn't have to spend you know, two weeks recording which is just, I didn't didn't really have two weeks, you know, of full workdays to sort of lock myself in a closet and record it. So this is allowing me to record it as I have time. Which is kind of a challenge as I say this right now, my desk is literally surrounded and pillows from the last time I recorded which was like two weeks ago. So So yeah, it's been it's been kind of an interesting challenge. But I have been enjoying it. And it's also allowed me to get feedback on it as well. This is my first time recording an audio book. So if anything sounds weird, or whatnot, like people can, you know, give me feedback, and I get a chance to re record as I go. So, so yeah, so it started in I want to say the end of August. And currently, it's on Part Six, which is the how to talk so people will talk section of the book, which is maybe my favorite section of the book. I admit I was a little bit nervous going into recording these chapters because the tone of voice is so important. And I wanted to make sure that I got that right. And I think I got a little bit in my head about that. But I think it I think it came out Okay, so I think I think I'm happy with it. But so yeah, so So this week you're gonna get a chance to preview the the the private podcast, there are still spots in it if you want to join so it's limited to 500 people and right now I think there's about a little under 200 so there's quite a few spots left if you wanted to, to join along, but also you know what, once the full thing is recorded, which I don't really I guess it'll be sort of end of the year early next year. You know, it'll also be available as a regular audio book not quite sure what I'm going to do with the podcast I'm actually kind of curious to hear if people want that to stick around or whatnot. I don't I wonder if it makes it more digestible to get through but maybe that value is on the you know that it's coming out every week, right now. So yeah, hope you enjoy and Colleen and I will be next back next week. Part Six, how to talk So people will talk. This is the most important part of this book. The tactics you'll learn build toward one goal, creating a bubble of suspended judgment, where the person feels comfortable being open. Throughout this part, you'll also find ways to practice these skills before using them in customer conversations. We'll go into each of these in depth one, use a gentle tone of voice to validate them. Three, leave pauses for them to fill for, mirror and summarize their words. Five, don't interrupt, six, use simple wording. Seven asked for clarification, even when you don't need it. Eight. Don't explain anything. Nine. Don't negate them in any way. And let them be the expert. Love it. Use their words and pronunciation 12 asked about time and money already spent. Lastly, you'll learn how to pull it all together by picturing yourself as a rubber duck. Trust me, it'll take you some time and some practice. But I think you'll notice a difference even in your personal life. By using these phrases and tactics. I want you to make me a promise, you'll only use what I'm about to teach you for good, you won't be manipulative, and you won't use what people say against them. deploying the tactics in this chapter can make someone open up to you much more than they otherwise would. Someone's confidence is a sacred gift. And it should be handled gently, respectfully and ethically. That respect should continue after the interview to I expect you to carry through the empathy you build for the customer well beyond the interview, and use empathy as part of your decision making process. Before we get into the tactics and phrases, it's important to understand just how much these tactics can transform a conversation. I got my start doing proper customer interviews in the personal finance industry. In America, people are generally very private about their personal finance decisions and situations. It's an extremely delicate topic. And because of this, I had to learn interviewing in a rigorous way. I didn't realize how much the techniques outlined in this chapter had woven themselves into my everyday conversation habits until I was at the grocery store a few years ago, I was in line with a dozen items and notice that the cashier hugged the woman in front of me, and they interacted with one another in a heartfelt way. I must have just finished an interview because I found myself asking the cashier about it. me with a smile. Oh, I noticed you hugged her. Is that your sister? cashier? No, she's just a longtime customer. I've worked here for a long time. me. Oh, you have? cashier? Yeah, almost 20 years. I'm due to retire soon. Companies changed a lot in that time. me. Oh hasn't. cashier proceeds to tell me about how the store chain was bought out by another chain 10 years ago, how they changed the retirement plan how she's worried about having enough income from Social Security, her 401k her old pension and retirement and how she's making extra 401k contributions. This was all in the span of less than five minutes. As she rang up the dozen or so items I had in my basket. It's important to note that this cashier wasn't just a particularly chatty person. This was my local grocery store. And I had been there a few times per week. For several years at this point. I'd been in this woman's line many many times. And we had never had more than a simple polite conversation about the weather, or how busy the store was that day. I went home and told a former co worker about it and joked Do I have Tell me about your retirement planning written on my forehead. I was amazed that a stranger had told me that kind of information in such a short amount of time. My former co worker pointed out that it was a sign of just how much interview skills had worked themselves into my everyday conversation style. And how I become so much more effective at digging into the heart of an issue without too much effort. For someone who's only negative mark in their first professional performance review was that I was abrasive and was diagnosed with a DD it'll 11 years old, it came as quite a shock to realize I now had an active listening conversation style without even realizing it. That experience taught me how we need to be careful with these skills, and to know when to hit the brakes. It's a person's decision what to reveal. But I always keep that story in mind and remind myself to back off or shift topics. When it seems like someone is on the verge of saying too much. It's possible to make someone too comfortable and safe. It's always okay to say thank you for telling me that I was wondering if we could go back to something you said earlier. I'm curious about something else. It also reminded me of how so many people don't have people in their lives who will just listen to them. Especially about things that are processes or tasks they complete daily or goals that are top of mind. The cashier at the grocery store clearly spent a lot of time thinking and worrying about the different sources of Income she'd have in retirement and whether they would be enough, but maybe didn't have anyone who would listen to her talk about that. I find that once you build trust with someone and show them that you're willing to listen, they will talk. Because no one has ever cared about that part of their daily life before. Maybe they grew up to a co worker about how long something takes, but they've probably never sat down and had someone genuinely ask them what they think about creating server uptime reports or following up on invoices, they've probably never really talked through where they spend a lot of time the tools they use, and so forth. They've probably never had anyone care enough to try to make it better for them. Just being a presence who's willing to listen is more powerful than people realize how customer interviews differ from other kinds of interviews. If you're already familiar with other kinds of interviewing, it might be interesting for you to read with an eye for how this kind of interviewing differs, journalistic interviewing, motivational interviewing and a negotiation based interview all bears similarities to user interviewing, yet they also have significant differences. The first professional interview I ever did was the summer I was interning at the Washington bureau of a British newspaper. the BP oil spill had happened a few months earlier. And my boss asked me to interview someone thinking back that was a very different interview from the customer interviews I started doing years later, in that BP oil spill interview, I was digging for information and I was looking for specific quotes that could be used in an article I already knew about the oil spill, so I wasn't looking to learn their perspective on it. Instead, I needed them to say specific things and say them in a quotable way. Customer interviews by contrast, are all about diving into how the other person perceives an experience and intentionally suspending the desire to validate your own ideas. Later, after the interview has finished, you can analyze the interview and see what opportunities might exist. We'll talk about that more in Part Eight analyzing interviews. Chapter 25 use a gentle tone of voice. In Chris Voss, his book never split the difference. He suggests using a late night DJ voice in negotiations. You're listening to wb mt 88.3 FM therapists will often speak in soft slow voices as a method of CO regulation to calm their patients. These techniques help put the other person at ease and create an environment where they feel safe. These techniques apply when you're talking to customers to a customer interviews should be conducted in the most harmless voice you can possibly muster. Imagine you're asking a treasured older family member about a photo of themselves as a young person. There might be a gentle, friendly tone of voice, a softness to your tone, genuine judgment free curiosity. Or perhaps picture that a close friend has come to you experiencing a personal crisis in the middle of the night. You would listen to them calmly and just try to figure out what was going on. You probably wouldn't start offering ideas or solutions to their problem and would focus on helping them get back to a clear state of mind. use that same gentleness in your customer interviews. It's important to note though, that you cannot be condescending. I purposefully do not say to speak to them like you would a child because people have very different ways of talking to children. Think of your customer as someone you respect and you can learn from because you should and you can. Why did you do it that way set in a medium volume voice with emphasis on certain words could make it sound accusatory and put them on the defensive versus will lead you to do it like that. And a gentle, unassuming, curious voice will help them open up. Try this now. The next time a friend or family member comes to you with a problem. Intentionally use the gentlest voice you can muster when you talk to them. The next time use your normal approach. Notice whether the person reacts differently. Chapter 26 validate them. books on product development often talk about validation, validating ideas, validating prototypes, validating business models. This chapter is about an entirely different kind of validation. It's a pivotal part of getting someone to open up to you. This chapter is about what psychologists and therapists describe as validating statements. These are specific phrases you can use to show someone that you're engaged with what they're saying. It's okay to have trepidation about what you would say in an interview, and how you would come up with follow up questions. Yet most of what you say during an interview aren't questions at all. Instead, you use validating statement It's that shows someone you're open to what they're saying and are listening. Your goal is for them to talk as much as possible. And you as little aim for the interviewee to do 90% of the talking in the interview. In a customer interview, you use validation, even when you don't necessarily agree with what they say. Or even if what they say sounds absurd to you. It does not mean that you agree with them. It is instead a way of recognizing that what they think and do is valid from their perspective. You cannot break that bubble of trust ever, even when something wacky cans, which I can. In a memorable interview years ago, the interviewee suddenly said, Sorry, I'm eating a case of beer right now, about 45 minutes into the phone call. Mind you, this person had given zero previous indications that they were eating. My research partner, the unflappable research expert, Dr. Helen fake, just rolled with it and said, Oh, you're fine. Notice what she said there. She didn't say no worries or not a problem or don't worry about it, all of which either hinge on negating a negative word, worries problem, and thus leave the negative word in the person's mind. Or invalidating instead told him he was fine. Not, that's fine, which is abstract. But explicitly putting the interviewee as the subject. And that saying that he is fine, which validated his state as a person. It was subtle yet next level of conversational jujitsu that will start to come naturally to you, the more you practice this, you also cannot say that you agree with them, or congratulate them, or do anything that implies that you have an opinion. Even if it's a positive opinion, this is probably one of the strangest parts of how to make an interview flow. And for many people, it runs counter to their built in instincts to be positive and encouraging. The person you're interviewing may ask you if you agree, and you need to purposely find a way to make that question go away. I can see where you're coming from on that. Can you tell me rather than Yeah, I agree. agreeing or disagreeing will remind them that you're a human being with opinions and judgments, and the trust will start to melt away, you almost want them to forget that you're a person. For example, when I was interviewing people about their finances, they would admit to doing things that a financial planner or portfolio manager would never endorse, even though we knew that we couldn't correct them. We also couldn't agree with them, either. We were searching for their internal logic and thought processes. And if we were introduced outside information, or agree or disagree with them, they would have shifted into trying to impress us and holding back information, examples of validating statements. That makes sense. I can see why you would do it that way. I'm interested to hear more about how you came to doing it that way. Would you be able to walk me through the context behind that? I can see what you're saying. It sounds like that's frustrating. That sounds like that's time consuming. It sounds like that's challenging. Sounds like you think that could be improved? Can you help me understand What went through your mind? When? Can you tell me more about? It makes sense. You think that? It makes sense? You do it that way? Sounds like there are several steps involved. I'm curious, can you walk me through them? Sounds like a lot goes into that. When using validating phrases, I encourage you to use the word think instead of feel. Some people I've noticed will find it insulting to say that they feel a certain way. But think is interpreted as more neutral and factual. For example, you feel the process is complicated. Versus you think the process is complicated, or better. The process is complicated. And remember, most people like to think their job is challenging. years ago, I heard someone talk about their recent move to LA. their spouse was in the entertainment industry and this person was not. And they kept finding themselves struggling to make conversation at cocktail parties. But eventually they learned a trick. Whenever someone said what they did, they replied with that sounds challenging. Even if the person's job sounded easy or boring. People would open up because it felt like a compliment. And it would lead to an interesting conversation about the things that person did at work. What that person found was that encouraging someone to keep talking requires Turning the conversation back over to them. Rather than offering your own ideas. Try this now. The next time a friend or family member shares a problem with you and does not explicitly ask you for advice, say that makes sense or another one of the validating statements mentioned previously, rather than offering a solution. Sometimes people say I just don't know what to do, which sounds like an invitation to offer a solution but may not be. If that happens, ask them about what they've already tried. Chapter 27 leave pauses for them to fill. Several years ago, I was sitting in the audience at the DC tech meetup. I was there to support a friend who was giving a presentation. And something one of the panelists said stuck with me and it's something I remind myself about during every customer interview. Radio producer melody Kramer was asked what she had learned while working for Terry Gross host of the long running NPR interview show fresh air. She said that Terry Gross his interview strategy is to ask a question and then to wait and wait and wait at least three long beats until it is uncomfortable. Quote, the other person will fill the silence and what they fill it with will often be the most interesting part of the interview. I remember Cramer quoting gross as saying this tactic of saying something and then waiting at least three beats for the other person to fill it is something that I use in every single interview often multiple times. The length of what feels like a long pause varies from person to person. The research of linguist Dr. Deborah Tannen, shows that people from different American regions tend to have different conversation styles. A coordinator her research, people from the northeastern us may talk over one another to show engagement. While California and may wait for a pause to jump in. People from different continents can have different conversation styles to people from East Asia may wait for an even longer pause and could interpret what seems like a suitable pause to the California as an interruption. A three beat pause may seem long disarm and normal to others. I encourage you to experiment with us and add an extra two to three beats on top of whatever is normal for you. In addition to pauses, I also encourage you to notice whether you provide prompts and additional questions. What do you do if the other person doesn't respond right away? Imagine you're trying to figure out what kind of delivery to order for dinner with a friend or spouse. Do you say Where should we order takeout from and let it hang? Perhaps you had possible answers like where should we order takeout from? Should we get pizza? Chinese sushi? One of the ways people make a typical conversation flow is by adding these sorts of little prompting words, when someone doesn't reply immediately. Maybe the prompting is an offering answers like above. And it's just a rephrase without offering an answer like where should we order takeout from? Do you wanna? while adding gesticulation. In an interview, you need to avoid prompting as best as you can, lest you influence the person's answer. When you ask a question, you need to let it hang and let the customer fill the silence. So can you tell me why you even needed a product like your product in the first place? And wait? Don't prompt. If they don't reply right away? Don't say was it for use case one, or maybe use case two? Just wait. I know how hard this is. In fact, there's a point in the example customer interview where I slipped up and prompted cool was there, or is there anything else? Did you have any other questions or? Drew 24:10 No, I think that's everything I have. Michele Hansen 24:14 Now, sometimes it might get truly awkward. The person you're interviewing may not respond. If they say, Are you still there? You can gently bring the conversation back to focus on them and say something that elevates what they've already said like, Yeah, I was just giving you a moment to think. Oh, I was just jotting down what you just said that seemed important. And then rephrase what you'd like them to expand on. Yes, I'm still here. Do you want to come back to that later? Oh, we just sounded like you're about to say something. If anything too long pauses and the interviewers phrases the follow, make the customer feel even more important and reinforce that they are in the dominant role in this conference. It puts them in the role of teacher which marketing psychology expert Dr. Robert Steele, Dini, has identified as a powerful way of influencing another person's behavior. You want them to teach you about their view of the process. And this sort of almost differential treatment through pauses, helps elevate them into that teaching position. To get the answers you need about the customers process, you need to create a safe judgment free environment, you need to hand the stage entirely over to the customer, and talk as little as possible. And leaving silences without prompting is one of the ways you can do that. Try this now. The next time you're having an everyday conversation, not a tense conversation, not appointed conversation. Notice whether you ask a question and wait. Chapter 28 mirror and summarize their words. I have a friend who used that a parrot named Steve. I remember listening amused as he told me about the conversations he had with Steve. This was years before I learned about active listening. And now it makes more sense to me why parrots are great conversationalist, even though their vocabulary is limited. What parents do is repeat words back at people and repeating words back at someone and rephrasing what they've said, as the magical power of encouraging them to elaborate. It's a tactic that therapists and negotiators use all the time. CHAPTER TWO OF never split the difference by Chris Voss is a deep dive on mirroring. And you can also learn about it and nonviolent communication by Marshall Rosenberg. Consider this excerpt from the example interview, I wasn't Drew 26:44 really seriously considering anything that had a paywall on it was I wasn't sure that it would ever pay itself back off. I knew there were other options out there that would either require moving our storage and our database altogether, which didn't really seem appealing, or having two different services, one to manage each. But then the storage still being just as complicated only somewhere else. Michele Hansen 27:07 It sounds like you had a lot of things you were trying to like wave back and forth about whether you should sort of try to plunge forward with this thing that was already being very frustrating. Or then all of the the negative effects of switching and all the complications that that would introduce. Drew 27:23 I really didn't want to spend a whole lot of time investing, you know, building up a new infrastructure for a new product for new servers to handle this one thing that I think the most frustrating part was that it worked in now it doesn't. Michele Hansen 27:36 You'll notice there aren't any question marks and what I said as a follow up. I rephrased what he said as a statement, which then prompted him to expand on it. This is a combination of two conversation tactics, mirroring and summarizing, mirroring is repeating what someone has said. And summarizing is when you rephrase what they have said, and sometimes label their feelings, you can hear another example of mirroring in the sample interview, he describes himself running into a lot of walls, jumping through a lot of hoops. And that phrasing is mirrored back for elaboration. Drew 28:10 And Firebase Storage just did not work as easily. As it was we found ourselves running into a lot of walls, jumping through a lot of hoops just to make the simplest things work. Michele Hansen 28:22 Can you tell me a little bit more about those hoops and walls that you ran into? negotiation expert Chris Voss notes that it's important to say it rather than I, when summarizing, it sounds like is more neutral, then I'm hearing that since in the second one, you're centering yourself as the subject, but the first phrase centers the situation. For example, if your spouse or roommate comes home seeming frazzled, man, what a day, I had, like 10 calls today. You mirroring. You had 10 calls today. The other person? Yeah, and then my last one didn't even show up and I'd had to cut the previous call short to make it. If I'd known they weren't going to show up. I could have gotten this thing sorted out and then I wouldn't have to work tonight. You summarizing and labeling. Sounds like you had a lot of calls today. And because someone didn't show up, you're feeling frustrated that you have to finish your work tonight. Notice that none of these follow ups or questions? Oh, are you talking to new clients? The clarifications are simple restatements of what the person has said without added editorial zation of the events. Try this now. When a friend or family member says something to you about their day, try stating back at them what they've said. Then try summarizing what they've said as a statement. Sometimes a gentle upward tone implies interest more depending on the person
Oct 6th — Today I'm talking to an Indie Hacker Marie Martens (@mariemartens) who has gained over 10,000 users in less than a year for her software Tally. The best part of her story is that Tally isn't even a new idea. In fact, incumbents like Google are already in the space. I invited her here to find out how she did it. Follow Marie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mariemartens Build a beautiful form with Tally: https://tally.so/
Oct 5th — In this episode Michele gives an update on her book sales and Colleen thinks about changing her pricing structure.
Sep 29th — Noah Bragg is an indie hacker in its truest form. Building in public hacking away on his project, Potion , which is a a way to host your Notion pages as websites behind a custom domain. He's also the co-host of the Product Journey podcast , where he speaks with his co-host Ben about their progress on their respective side projects. What we covered: The goal of building a huge business Project: Coffee Pass When to decide to stop a project Failing after 2 years working on something First project as an indie hacker: Supportman Selling Supportman Starting Potion $250 to $3,000 MRR in 4 months How to do a successful product hunt launch How to get a product hunt maker grant Focusing on product instead of marketing Finding the right market / a growing market Dealing with competition Recommendations Book: ReWork Podcast: My First Million Indie Hacker: Kenneth Cassel Follow Noah Twitter Potion Website Product Journey Podcast Follow Me Twitter Indie Bites Twitter Personal Website Buy A Wallet Sponsor - Upvoty Do you want to build the best product possible? Then listening to user feedback is one of the best ways to do so. Because by listening to the problems of your users, you can build a real problem-solver that they'll love. Upvoty is a user feedback tool that gives your user's a voice and makes it really easy at the same time for you to prioritize what to build next. By installing Upvoty's feedback boards, you'll have all of your user feedback in one central place and it will really help you connect with your customers and understand their needs. On top of that, you can close the feedback loop by setting up your Changelog and Product Roadmap. Your users will be actively involved in building new features and will love you for that. Try Upvoty 14-days for free and with the code 'INDIEBITES' you'll get a 10% discount on any of their plans. Sign up here.
Sep 29th — In this episode I'm talking to AJ from Carrd. I want to find how he grew from $30K MRR to over $1M ARR in just two years and what Kim Kardashian had to do with it. I'll also ask him how he thinks about fundraising as an indie hacker. Follow AJ on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ajlkn Build a simple one-page website with Carrd: https://carrd.co/
Sep 28th — Colleen interviews Nadia Odunayo, the founder of The StoryGraph. Now with over 500,000 users, The StoryGraph is an app that helps you track your reading and choose your next book based on your mood and your favorite topics and themes.
Sep 22nd — In this episode I'm talking to John O'Nolan (@JohnONolan), the founder of Ghost. For the last year, he's been living on a sailboat and growing his company remotely. I want to ask him about what decisions he made early on that put constraints on how and why Ghost grows. Follow John on Twitter: https://twitter.com/johnonolan Check out Ghost: https://ghost.org/
Sep 22nd — Andy Cloke is the founder of Data Fetcher , a platform for running API requests in Airtable, which is currently doing around $3k MRR. Andy has started many projects in the past, his most recent one, Influence Grid, was sold for $55k back in mid-2020, having only started it 7 months before. In this episode we talk about his framework for finding trending ideas, building a product and being successful with marketing as a developer. We also talk about the process of selling your product and how to make that go smoothly. What we covered Andy's background Kabooshi Why Andy started Influence Grid How to leverage Exploding Topics to find trending ideas Getting validation for your idea Using cold outreach to grow a platform Rocket Reach Doing SEO from the start How he grew Influence Grid to $3k MRR Why decide to sell Influence Grid? Should you go through a platform for an acquisition? How to best prepare for a small acquisition What Andy bought himself after selling for $55k What he did after the acquisition The process of finding a new idea Software Ideas by Kevin Conti Micro SaaS by Tyler Tringas Why Andy started Data Fetcher How Data Fetcher has grown to $3k MRR Andy's framework for finding a successful idea How to push through when things aren't going so well Recommendations Book: Blue Ocean Strategy Podcast: Startup to Last Indie Hacker: Jon Yongfook Follow Andy Twitter Data Fetcher Follow Me Twitter Indie Bites Twitter Personal Website Buy A Wallet Sponsor - Upvoty Do you want to build the best product possible? Then listening to user feedback is one of the best ways to do so. Because by listening to the problems of your users, you can build a real problem-solver that they'll love. Upvoty is a user feedback tool that gives your user's a voice and makes it really easy at the same time for you to prioritize what to build next. By installing Upvoty's feedback boards, you'll have all of your user feedback in one central place and it will really help you connect with your customers and understand their needs. On top of that, you can close the feedback loop by setting up your Changelog and Product Roadmap. Your users will be actively involved in building new features and will love you for that. Try Upvoty 14-days for free and with the code 'INDIEBITES' you'll get a 10% discount on any of their plans. Sign up here.
Sep 21st — Michele Hansen 0:01 This episode of Software Social is brought to you by Reform. As a business owner, you need forms all the time for lead capture, user feedback, SaaS onboarding, job applications, early access signups, and many other types of forms. Here's how Reform is different: - Your brand shines through, not Reform's - It's accessible out-of-the-box ... And there are no silly design gimmicks, like frustrating customers by only showing one question at a time Join indie businesses like Fathom Analytics and SavvyCal and try out Reform. Software Social listeners get 1 month for free by going to reform.app/social and using the promo code "social" on checkout. Colleen Schnettler 0:51 So Michelle, how are things going with your book tour? Michele Hansen 0:54 So the book tour itself is going well, I did indie hackers build your SAS searching for SAS one end product? I just recorded another one. yesterday. No, no, no, today? No, that was I feel like I'm doing a lot with it. Because that's what says because I had I love it. Let's see yesterday, no Tuesday, I did a session with founder summit. And then I also had a call with someone about being on their podcast yesterday. That'll be in November, and then I've scheduled another one for October. And then I did another group session today. And then yeah, actually, it was when I got off of that and Mateus was like, you know what you just did? And I was like, What? Like, he was like, you just did consulting? And I was like, No, I did. Like cuz it was Yeah. No, I did. I was like, it wasn't personalized. It was just like a workshop and people asked like questions, like, I just, I just talked about the book. And I was like, No, it wasn't he was like, yeah, it wasn't like that. No, it wasn't. Um, yeah, I think I actually kind of need to like, Cool it a bit on the promotion stuff. Like dude, like, this week, I spent like two days this week, creating a Google Sheets plugin for geocoder Oh, it was so nice to like, be playing around with spreadsheet functions again, like, after doing all this like writing and then talking about this stuff I wrote like, it was very comfortable. It was much more comfortable than talking about. Colleen Schnettler 2:42 Like, I don't know, it was your happy was when you went Excel. Michele Hansen 2:46 It really is. Um, but actually, so I have another spreadsheet that doesn't have any fun functions in it is the number of books I have sold, adding up, you know. Okay. For 490 400 Colleen Schnettler 3:03 my gosh, that's amazing. Michele Hansen 3:07 I know, it's so close to 500. And it's been so close to 100 500 for like days. And like, the other day, I was like, maybe I'm, like, tapped out the market for this at 490. Like, that's really good. Like the average book sells like 300. So like, that's really good. Um, and, yeah, so so I'm going to do like, I'm going to be on some other podcasts and whatnot. And like, I remember seeing once. Rob Fitzpatrick once, I think actually, it's in his new book. He has a graph of the revenue of the mom test and like, the growth of that book is I mean, a case in compounding. Colleen Schnettler 3:52 Okay, so, right. So Michele Hansen 3:54 you know, it's not all like in the beginning, and like, there's really positive signs, like people are recommending to other people, people are writing reviews, like, so. So yeah, I feel good. But man, I really want to get to 500. I don't know, I haven't been thinking about the numbers very much. I mean, it's only six but like, I really, I really want to get to 500. I don't know why, like it's like getting to like, you know, 1000 or what it like that's that's not even like remotely like a possibility to me, like I don't even really think about it. But now it's like so close. And like that would be so awesome. Colleen Schnettler 4:25 I wager a guess that by the time this podcast airs on Tuesday, you will be at 500. Michele Hansen 4:31 That's only six more books. Maybe Maybe. And by the way, if people want a free copy of this of the book, so if you are listening, when it comes out on on Tuesday or Wednesday, transistor.fm is running a little giveaway on their Twitter account. I think Justin saw my like, I think 490 is all I'm ever gonna sell. Okay. And I was like, no. So they're giving away five copies of the book. You just have to go retweet the tweets about the book. So yeah, nice. Yeah. If you just go to the deploy wonderful, Colleen Schnettler 5:05 that'll help expand your reach. Michele Hansen 5:07 Yeah, it was interesting hearing that I was like helping you interview people on podcast. I'm like, Yeah, I guess you could. I mean, it doesn't have to just be for. for customers. Colleen Schnettler 5:19 Anyway, oh, yeah, your book applies to so much. So that's where the, Michele Hansen 5:23 that's that's where the book is. But I gotta say, I think I think I need to give myself a little break on promotion. Otherwise, I'm gonna, I'm gonna burn out on that Colleen Schnettler 5:33 for right now. Yeah, I was thinking about that when you were talking about like, how you're hitting it so hard. I was like, wait, Isn't this what happened with writing the book? And then afterwards, you're like, Michele Hansen 5:43 Yes, I have a pattern. Yes. way overboard. And then I exhaust myself. Colleen Schnettler 5:53 So maybe we should approach it like a marathon instead of a sprint? Yeah, Michele Hansen 5:57 I think so. I haven't scheduled anything for next week. So I don't have anything scheduled until the first week of October. So okay. Yeah, kind of just, yeah. So so you know, hopefully by the, you know, yeah. Bye. By the time I'm on again, because I'm off next week. I vacation. Yeah. Oh my god, dude, I'm going to American, I'm so excited. So happy for you. Okay, um, I can't wait to just go to Target and Trader Joe's anyway. Colleen Schnettler 6:34 So if you're not have target, and then we do not Michele Hansen 6:36 have target, we have a story that's inspired by target or like more like, inspired by Walmart. But like, it's just like, there's just nothing like getting a Starbucks and walking around target. You know, it's just true story. Anyway, um, what's going on with you? Colleen Schnettler 6:52 So I did quite a bit of work on simple file uploads. Since we last talked, I actually spent a good chunk of time doing some technical work, some cleanup work that needed to be done. But I have gotten the demo on my homepage. Oh, it's really exciting. Yeah, Michele Hansen 7:10 the like, code pen demo thing that we've been talking about for a while, right? Correct. Colleen Schnettler 7:15 Okay, instead of putting a code pen up, I actually just put a drop zone. So you can literally, if you go into my site, it just says drop a file to try it. And you can drop a file. Wait, so that is something I know. Right? So that's something I've been talking about doing for a long time, which I finally got done. So that's exciting. Yeah. And there was some other stuff with like the log on flow, that wasn't really quite correct. It wasn't wrong, it just wasn't really right. So I just spent a lot of time kind of getting that cleaned up. Oh, and the API for deleting events. So that was a real hustle for me, because I have someone who reached out to me, and they were like, Hey, we totally want to use your thing. But we have to be able to delete files, you know, from our software, not from the dashboard. And so that external forcing function of this potential customer just made me do it. And so I have that done. So I Oh, I feel now that I have like a completely functioning piece of software. Did they buy it? So that's exciting? Not yet. They claim that they're going to start their project like next month? I don't know if they will or won't, but we'd have developed kind of like, relatively frequent ish email communication and stuff. So I think it'll be good. Either way, it forced me to kind of do it. So I'm happy to have that because that is something I really wanted to do. Because I wanted to make sure I had that before I allow multiple uploads. So the question now Oh, and we had a huge I mean, a huge spike. We don't the site doesn't get tons and tons of visitors. But we had a huge spike in visitors because we're actually publishing content. Oh, yeah. So like things are I'm doing things. So that's exciting to get the documentation stuff Michele Hansen 9:03 done that we talked about. Colleen Schnettler 9:05 So I decided that it wasn't worth my time to completely rip out the documentation and redo it. So but I did go in there and try to take what I had, which as your to your point, I think last week or two weeks ago, is you said, you know, it's fine. It kind of looks like a readme like it's not beautiful, but it's functional. So I tried to make it more functional by adding more documentation. And then I hired a developer to write a blog post, I shouldn't say almost more like a tutorial, how to use this in react. So his article is up. So I've been putting a lot of content on the site the past week. Michele Hansen 9:41 You are on fire. Colleen Schnettler 9:44 I know girl, I'm feeling good. I mean, part of it is like hiring my own sister has been so good for me because she can call me on my bullshit, because she works for me, but she's also like my best friend. So she's like, just stop whining and just do it. I'm like, okay, I joke like she's part marketing expert part like life coach, like, Michele Hansen 10:06 it sounds like you've got the fire under you now. Colleen Schnettler 10:11 I do. I mean, I have not seen. Okay, so it's only been a week right. So we've seen an increase in the ticket people coming to the site. I have not seen any kind of great increase in signups signups are still. Well, actually, I have not seen a great increase in signups. But what I have seen is my file uploader hit 10,000 files uploaded this week, like people are using, right. Right. So what has happened is remember the beginning I was really concerned because all these people were signing up and then like 30% of the people were using it. So all those non users have turned. So the people who are paying me now are actually using it actively. So that's good. Yeah, that's really good. Yeah. So I'm not seeing an increase my MRR still bouncing around 1000. Again, nothing to sneeze at. Like, it's a good number. But I haven't seen any kind of great jumps. But I think part of that is because the people who aren't using it have left and then the people who are using it, you know, the people who have signed up or actually committed to using it. Michele Hansen 11:14 Right. But new people have not come in that have replaced the people have checked who have turned Colleen Schnettler 11:20 right, not really like a couple. But you know, at one point, I had three people paying me 250 bucks a month. Like That was pretty awesome that now I only have one person Michele Hansen 11:28 is that is that the the whale that we talked about that like wasn't using it and wasn't Replying to Your Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 11:33 So I've had three of those people come in and come out. One is still there. Again, not using it not responding to emails. But I'm not trying to hassle them. So Alright, if that's what you wanted? Yeah. So I'm trying to figure out so I'm fit. I mean, the energy there is really good. And I feel like I've made a lot of I've done a lot of things. I haven't seen yet. The the response from that from a revenue standpoint, but I feel like if I just keep pushing in this direction, I'll get there. So I'm trying to decide what to do next. So why for so long, I had this list of things. And every time we talked, I felt like getting advice from you on what to do next wasn't really useful, because I hadn't even done the other things I was supposed to do. But now I have done the other things. So I'm trying to decide if you should focus on other ways to use it. So now that I have an API for deletion, I can open up multiple file uploads, which is kind of cool. I already do it for a client, like on the on the download secretly because I control their site, but I could. So I could write more content, showing people how to actually use it and like, and kind of go in that direction. Or I could make the UI more flashy and add a, like an image modifier editing tool, which would be kind of cool. Or I could, I don't know, that's what I got right now. Michele Hansen 12:58 What are you? What are your customers Asia do Colleen Schnettler 13:01 my customer search. So we are trying to do another round of customer interviews. So I did, we offered a $25 amazon gift card. And we're going around to everyone who's actively using it to see if anyone wants to talk to us. So we are doing that we are trying to do and that was another thing. Like I'm kind of proud of myself, just because when we moved here, our schedule is so variable, I couldn't really get like solid work hours like this is when I can work. But we did send out those emails requesting customer interviews. So that is on the docket. Michele Hansen 13:34 Because like I could sit here and be like, Oh, yeah, like that sounds good. But like, Don't listen to me. Like I don't I don't know, like, you know, I have a question for you. That's kind of kind of a different topic, but I feel like you are so you're so enthusiastic right now. And I have to wonder whether working on stuff for your like, quote, unquote, day job, which was you know, the consulting before and then was the other company and now and now is Hammerstone like, like, I kind of have to wonder if like working on stuff during like work is like Colleen Schnettler 14:15 if Michele Hansen 14:16 if that is working on something you're excited about during the day is energizing you for your side project because I just feel like the energy that I am hearing from you is like so much more than it has been before. Like you're just like, Colleen Schnettler 14:35 I fired up. I totally am Michelle, I someone had you know, all those there's always tweets like oh, all the things, the best decisions I've ever made in my life or you know, all that stuff. I saw one the other day and it was the two most important decisions you're going to make in your life are who you marry and what you do for a living. And I can tell I mean I'm literally for the first time in ever I'm in my late 30s first time in ever doing exactly what I have always wanted to do. And it's amazing. I mean, and the coolest thing is like the Hammerstone stuff. So I'm working on that I'm working with people I think are awesome. I go to sleep, and I wake up and my business partner has like, done this amazing stuff because he's just like cranking out code like a rock star. And I'm like, oh, Aaron's like, oh, while you were sleeping. I made this totally amazing thing. I'm like, glad I partnered with you, buddy. Because you know, what's up? Michele Hansen 15:32 Every day, Aaron has like some new like, thing. And yeah, who is he? When do you sleep? Like what he was? Was twins. Yeah, like newborn twins. Like not just twins, but like not like, born like, I mean, I guess babies do some kind of sleep a lot at weird times. Oh, gee, I don't know. And he has been jaw. There's also like, there's kind of the like, we want we launched you akoto when Sophie was four months old. And I feel like there was like this, we got this, like motivation from it. Because it was like, you know, she would go to bed at like seven or 730. And then, you know, we knew she was gonna wake up at like, midnight or two or whatever. But it was like, Oh, my God, we finally have two hours to ourselves. Let's use it as productively as possible. Like this thing I've been thinking about this whole time while I was changing diapers, I can do it now. Like, and it was weirdly motivating, and also incredibly exhausting, and a blur, but I don't know. Yeah, yeah. Aaron, like, dude, you're a machine? Colleen Schnettler 16:34 Yeah, it's so impressive. I think part of that too, might be you know, with that thing, if you only have three hours to do something like, you get that thing done in three hours. versus if you give yourself 30 days to do it. It'll take you 30 days. Yeah. But I think for me, I mean, my journey, you know, has been from a job, I didn't really like to all kinds of bouncing around doing different things, to learning how to code years ago, always the goal when I was learning how to code was to get to where I am right now. And I'm finally here. And it is super awesomely exciting. Like, I'm literally working with someone I have wanted to not, I mean, also Aaron, but like, not just him, working with someone I've always wanted to work with on something that's exciting. And it's like our business, I can't imagine a better knock on wood. I can't imagine a better work scenario for me. And I think that energy that comes from that scenario, absolutely bleeds into simple file upload, like, honestly, you know, a couple weeks ago, I was like, I should just sell it and be done with it. Like I was just kind of over it. And then hiring my sister really helped because she's really excited. And like, just having a higher level of energy in general, for this thing. It's been really fun. You know, Michele Hansen 17:50 I feel like I've heard you talk a little bit about how when you were first starting out, and then working as an engineer, like electrical engineer, rather. And you were like talking to people at work about how like, you know, they had all these like hopes and dreams when they got out of college. And then like, those things never happened. And then they were it was 30 years later, and they were just miserable. And you were like, Oh my god, I'm not like, I can't do that. And I like I wonder what was the moment when you realized that? Like, your solution to that was like learning how to code like, what made that happen? And but like, inspired you to not only realize that it was possible, but like, but then you acted on it, like? Colleen Schnettler 18:45 Well, I think part of it for me is I worked for a big, firm, a big company. And via I mean, that wasn't just like one of the middle managers that was like, all of the middle managers, right? Clearly these guys, they had started at 23 or 22, because they wanted to pay off college loans. They started working, it was a very comfortable job, right? They paid us well, we don't want to say we didn't work that hard, but we really didn't work hard. It was a lot of very bureaucratic, right, like lots of meetings, lots of organizing. And you know, before they know it, before they knew it, these guys were comfortable. And then they got married and they had kids and you know, most of them, their spouse stayed home. So then they felt that they were in this position where they were totally stuck. And they I mean, 30 years, I'm not exaggerating, like these guys had been there for 30 years. And they kind of it was just like this pervasive energy of like, real like, you know, the whole energy was just kind of like, everyone was just kind of bummed about their situation like no, it was sad, but they were definitely, like, felt the weight of this really boring job they'd done for 30 years. And so for me, it was really hard because like, again, it's so comfortable like they loved me. They paid me well. didn't have to, you know, wasn't all that stressful. But like my first of all, it wasn't hard at all, like your brain when you don't get to think or you don't get to be like, in you intellectually stimulated. It's just like murrah, blah, blah, blah. And I didn't know if I could, I mean, what I'm doing now has always been the dream. I couldn't see that eight years ago. Like, if you had told me I'd be doing what I did eight, I'd be here. Eight years ago, I would have been like, there's no way like, it felt like a freakin mountain to climb. I mean, like, it would never, I would never ever get there. And, I mean, I think a lot of it was just like, you know, obviously, all the work I put in seeing it as a vision I could reach and the community I was part of, and, you know, the communities I built along the way, but I couldn't see it. I mean, that's why, you know, I kind of make that parallel sometimes with what I'm doing now. Because like, back then I couldn't see I could not, couldn't see it. Like, just, I'm still amazed. And I can't see myself, my friend the other day, who has a business said, Oh, I think it's way easier to go from 1k to 5k. And I was like, I can't even see that right now. Like, that feels like a million dollars to me. And he's like, Oh, it's way easier to go from one to 5k than zero to 1k. And I was like, Really? So? I don't know. I mean, yeah, there's a lot there. Yeah, I Michele Hansen 21:23 was thinking about the other day, cuz I was talking to someone who, who has had a hard life, but it turned out that they, you know, I was talking to them about what they do. And you know, they're, and, and they, and they're like, Oh, you know, but I kind of know how to edit videos, and, you know, do some graphic design and stuff. And I was like, dude, like, if you have a little bit of technical competency, and like turnout, they've done like little bit of like Python stuff. I was like, run with that. But I realized, like, I didn't actually know where to, like, send them. Like I told him about, like, indie hackers and you know, other stuff. And I was, but I was like, I was like, I don't actually know, like, where to send you to, like, learn how to like code or like, no code. Like, I think I said, I told him about bubble. And like, I mean, it was worth the reason why like we do this podcast in the first place is to kind of like, demystify this whole thing about like running your own little internet company, which is still a weird job. And, like, show people that it's possible, I guess, um, and that, you know, they don't have to be in a dead end job or selling leggings as you are. Colleen Schnettler 22:38 Yeah, we watched the die. Michele Hansen 22:40 Lula documentary, we started it. I thought of you the whole time. Yeah, I really, I didn't even know where to send them. And it just got me thinking about your story. And it's like, you're in a dead end job. Like, not only like, like, what? I don't know, like, what was that? Like? What inspired you to be like, yeah, I have to do something about it. And here's what I'm gonna do. Colleen Schnettler 23:08 So I think for me, it was a lot of things happened at once. But it was I was at a dead end job where I had some real jerks that I worked with. And it was like, I don't have to put up with this. Like, I'm out. Yeah. And so then it was, it went when I decided to go back to work. They want to be back. I mean, they want to take me back with no, no interviews, like no hard shit, like, just come on back. And man, that was tempting, because the money is so good, was good. But I saw those guys, those guys were always in my mind, like the guys who never took a shot. And I was like, I'm not gonna, I'm not going to be that person who never takes a shot. But to your friends point. This is what is so hard about making this kind of career change. There is no roadmap. I mean, the reason people wanted to sell leggings is because they tell you what to do. Trying to like start a career in tech. There's literally no roadmap. There's no you. It's like, overwhelmingly hard. Not only everyone's like, oh, there's tons of resources on the internet. That doesn't help. There's too many resources on the internet. There needs to be a framework where it's like, here is where you go, this is what you need to do. Here are the steps. Yeah, because no one, everyone's journey is different. And there aren't any steps. And so what happens I see this all the time, because I mentor, some people that are trying to get into software, and they are totally lost, just like I was because there's no roadmap. There's no steps, like what do you do next? Like, sure, no code, what the heck do I make with a no code tool? Like what should I do? What are people going to pay for? How do I find those people? Like, it just feels like so nebulous? And I think that's why although you hear all these great success stories, I think that's why making the transition is so hard. And for me, I took a ridiculous pay cut for four years before I've now exceed my previous income but significant exceed. But, I mean, that was years. I mean, there was probably three to four years where I had taken this, I mean, you know, ridiculous paycut to rebuild, and not everyone makes it on the rebuilding stage, like, there's just so many stages, you can get stuck, and you just can't. It's just not it's just not knowing the path forward, like now that I'm speaking this to you, that would be useful to people like, Michele Hansen 25:37 where do you do? Yeah, like, Colleen Schnettler 25:38 Where do you think I'm thinking? Michele Hansen 25:40 Like, there's Okay, there's like, there's programming courses, you know, there's 30 by 500. Like, there's kind of all you know, there, there's zero to some, you know, our recalls book, but like, I mean, it's almost like, you know, there's so many things that go into it, and it's so nebulous, it's almost like you should be able to, like, go to college for starting an internet business, except you can't, because there's so many things that go into it. And like, so when you were so like you so so so let me understand this correctly. So you worked the dead end job. And then you quit, and you stayed home with your kids for a while. And then you went back to work. And then you did. So you didn't, and you decided you weren't going to go back there. And basically, it sounds like the real, like, the light bulb for you that you weren't going to do that was you know, your own self worth. It sounds like, um, and that you just couldn't do that to yourself. And you felt like you deserved better. But then so when you went back to work, did you get an engineering job? Like it like an electrical engineering job? And then like, did you learn to code at night or something? Like, how did you tackle this? Colleen Schnettler 26:56 Yeah, so I never went back to work. So the first thing I did back what this 10 years ago now, I wrote an iOS app. Because this was back in the day when people were making millions of dollars off of stupid iOS. Michele Hansen 27:07 Yeah, I was coming up in that era. And I think the most we ever made was 400 bucks a month. Colleen Schnettler 27:13 Right? This was maybe 11 1011 years ago. So I wrote an iOS app. And, you know, totally taught from scratch, there was only like one tutorial site at the time, all of this other stuff, treehouse, and all this stuff didn't exist. There was this guy, I think his name is Ray wonderlic. He had this iOS. And this was before Swift. So this is like Objective C days. I wrote an iOS app. I got it in the App Store. I made $65. And I realized I could make money on the internet. And then I was like, oh, okay, there's something here. This iOS stuff, though, is not the path because not only would I have to learn Objective C, that's decent, I then would have to learn all of these other things about like, building and selling an iOS app. And that is way too overwhelming. In the beginning, trying to learn how to code and learn how to run a business, these are not the same skill set, like learning these at the same time, when you come from a baseline of zero, I do not think it's a good idea. I kind of feel like you should pick one or the other. So being technical minded, I picked learning to code. So I literally started listening to every inspirational learning to code podcast I could find. And in one of the podcast, it was one of those real tech bro guys who's like, you could do it kinda like Gary, Gary, what's his name? It wasn't Gary, what's his name, but it was someone like that. Who was like you can do it, you know, you can start internet business. All you got to do is learn Ruby on Rails. So I was like, cool. So I started, what was the resource Back then, I think I got a book on Ruby on Rails and started building some apps. And I'm still, you know, I'm doing this at night, right? Because I still have the kids, I have three little kids at home, or maybe two at the time, I guess I only have two at the time. And then from there, Women Who Code had a bounty bug program, so they would pay you $75 to solve issues. And this was like, tremendous for me, because the $75 that doesn't sound like a lot now. Right? That was huge. Because that could pay for babysitting for like, hour. Yeah. So I mean, it would take me under these things would take me like 15 hours, I had no idea what I was doing. I mean, like, but that was tremendous. For me also finding social groups, like I got involved in some open source. And the social groups are tremendous. And by social, I mean, you know, on Slack, and from there, and from there, I ended up getting a job as a Rails developer. So it felt like clawing my way through a path that did not exist is what it felt like, right? There was no like, as an engineer previously, it was like, go to college get a job. There was no you know, the path was very clear. Where's the path here? It was like I started contributing this open source. I got so overwhelmed. I just stopped And like six months later, one of the guys just reached out to me individually and said, Hey, I see you took this issue on six months ago and you haven't solved it. Do you need help? And I was like, Yes, I need all the help. Like, I am so confused. I didn't know what I'm doing. So that guy who don't know don't keep in touch with no idea where he is in the world, but like, he was tremendous in helping me not to quit. Isn't that amazing hack someone that you Michele Hansen 30:26 don't know, over the internet just like shows up and is like, Hello, can I help you? And then you don't even keep in touch with this person or know them. But they had this like, massive v here without this influence on your life? Colleen Schnettler 30:41 I should, I should hunt him down. Be like, Hey, remember me? Michele Hansen 30:48 It's amazing. Colleen Schnettler 30:49 Yeah, it is. It is amazing. But I also think like, to this point, to your friend's point, and to me, like trying to get help my sister figure out what she wants to do for remote business. There's no path. I mean, it's so hard because you don't know what to do. Like people can work hard, I think motivated people. Absolutely. There's so many people who could change their career trajectories, because people will work hard for what they want. But when you don't know which vector Yeah, you know which direction to apply the work. You just spin around in circles, like I would love for there to be a better way to help people start internet businesses, because from our perspective, having done this for like, you know, eight years now, or whatever, it's like, oh, you just do this thing? And no, if you don't know what to do, just start with something. It's so even, I mean, everything is hard in the beginning, right? Like, how do you send emails? Michele Hansen 31:45 Like I we still don't send emails, so I don't know if I like we technically have tools. Colleen Schnettler 31:53 I think you could think of like now that I'm talking to you about this, like a fully encompassing course, Oh, my gosh, great new idea. Here, were to build out a Michele Hansen 32:02 course or something for like, for your, you know, learn to code instead of selling leggings, like you like that. Like, like that is like I feel like that is your like life's mission is to help. Colleen Schnettler 32:13 I know, right? All about going down. But here's the thing is, this is kind of my life mission. Yeah, but But the thing that I think I thought I'd make a course to teach people how to be a Rails developer. The thing is, it's really hard to learn software, well, like it's not going to happen. And here's my new thought, Oh, my gosh, it's just coming to me, you're not gonna learn software? Well, in six months, especially if you have, you know, if you're working during the day, you're just not this is not, you're not going to become a good rails developer in six months. So originally, I thought, my way was to help people learn to code. But I think what makes more sense, is actually to help people learn using probably no code tools, how to build online businesses, because that more aligns with the demographic of people I'm trying to help. Not how to learn to code, but like, how do you like cuz, you know, the joke is, every military spouse is a photographer, it's like the most prevalent, it's a very prevalent occupation. But teach these help these people learn how to like, build a site and send emails and use a no code tools. So they can you know, accept payments on their website and like basic stuff, so that people who want online businesses can still pursue what their individual passion is, because I'm finding like, I push people to try learn to code, a lot of people don't want to learn to code that's not their jam. Michele Hansen 33:36 You know, it reminds me of the something we say a lot. And then the sort of jobs to be done world is that nobody wants a quarter inch drill. They want a quarter inch hole so they can put a nail in it so they can hang a picture on their wall, right? Like learning Ruby on Rails like is not the end goal. The end goal is hanging the picture on the wall, which is building the business. Colleen Schnettler 34:02 Right? And if you want to have a real business, you got to know how to use the internet's Michele Hansen 34:10 how to use the internet. I think my university like nothing, I think I looked into like, like, oh, like, Can I take like an HTML or like, whatever, like class, and there was literally class that was like, This is the internet, you will learn how to use a browser and I was like, and then then, and then everything else was like C Programming. I was like, This is not looking good. Like Colleen Schnettler 34:34 Yeah, Michelle. Think about this, though. You're absolutely right. Like, I approached it incorrectly thinking oh, I need to teach the world how to code. Well doesn't want to learn how to code world wants to make money doing something they're already passionate about, whether that is selling something they make or whether that is being a photographer or you know, running a home catering business. But that's what we could do. We could To help teach people how I mean, you could have a course. Okay, I have to learn I'm sure you know, no code. That's the whole point is it's not that painful, right? You could have a course that basically walked someone through how to use no code tools to set up a website where you can do things like accept money, and do things like send automated emails. Dude, Michele Hansen 35:23 Do either of us know how to use the new code stuff? Colleen Schnettler 35:27 No. Okay. But yeah, Unknown Speaker 35:29 I mean, we don't have time right now. Michele Hansen 35:31 When we put ourselves through, which is how to use No, you know, what I just realized? Is that like, you came into this conversation, like fired up, and then somehow you were even more fired up right now. And I didn't think that was possible. Colleen Schnettler 35:47 I love this though. I feel like I'm adding shalon Pauline University. We don't have time for it now. But we're so first social University. Oh, my gosh, that's coming. Michele Hansen 36:02 Um, well, before we get more, you know, ideas out there. Maybe we should wrap up also, for apparently a lot of people listen to this podcast while running. And I have been tagged in the fact that we're usually around 30 minutes is like people like great, I can go out and like, I know how long of a run that is. So we're already five minutes over, we usually plan for it. So. Colleen Schnettler 36:26 Alright, guys, it's because of all my great ideas. Well, I Michele Hansen 36:29 so I will see you in two weeks. So yes, yes, I will be drinking started wandering through target next week. So but I know Colleen has exciting plans and then we'll we'll talk to you later.