On October 9th, 2019, I launched a side-project while working a full-time job and was able to grow it to $3,348.40 in monthly recurring revenue in a span of just under seven days. Since then we’ve faced many ups and downs but we’re still going strong and I’m going to let you know some of the things I learned on the way. Here’s the list:
Start Small: It’s ok to start with just a simple landing page and an idea. You will be surprised to learn how many people are actually interested in working with the “little guys” over bigger competing services. Don’t build out a complete website until you have several customers. Chances are your product is going to change based on the feedback you receive (Ours did).
Post in Facebook Groups: This is how we were able to get a solid 2/3 of that $3,348.40 of revenue. Share your idea with groups relevant to the audience your serving and don’t be afraid to receive negative feedback (this is what’s going help you shape your product). You will know if you’re on to something by the responses you receive which can save you tons of time down the line if you spend months working on something only to find out nobody wants it. Don’t try to sell your product in the group (a lot of moderators won’t allow this). simply let people know you’re looking for feedback and list the benefits of the product/service you’re working on to see if it’s something they’d be interested in.
Don’t undercharge: In the beginning, when you don’t have any customers, you may feel the need to charge less than your competitors thinking it’s going to help you convert customers fasters. This is something we faced which significantly undervalued our service and our talented team. Charge a price you’re comfortable with but don’t think that just because you are a new company you have to discount your services. Many customers will immediately think there’s something “wrong” with your product/service if you do this and won’t even consider working with you.
Perform cold outreach: Something we did in the beginning and still do today is reaching out to businesses we know could utilize our content marketing services. What’s been working for us is cold-email. Don’t try to immediately sell your service in the initial email just simply identify the problem your prospect has and provide some value on how it can be fixed. In our case, we help company’s with their content marketing/content creation so if we saw a company didn’t have a blog or wasn’t sharing content regularly, we would reach out to them providing them with 10 free blog topics that could help them attract customers. This improves your open rate percentage and helps to builds trust.
Underpromise/over-deliver: Trying to impress companies with short turnaround times for content was a big issue we had in the beginning and weighed heavily on our ability to actually deliver quality work.
Target a specific niche/industry that’s underserved: This will help your company stand out against larger competitors and allow you to use language that resonates with a specific audience.
I hope this helps some people out. Stay focus and don’t fall into the trap of shiny object syndrome. I’ve launched countless projects over the past four years and saw little to no return on most of them, but when I focused on one it quickly scaled and has continued to grow.
Here’s a link to my service (www.contentmates.com) if you want to check out what I’ve been working on. We're still very small but we're steadily growing. Feel free to reach out if you have questions. I would love to hear any stories you have on how you've grown your company.