AMAs July 23, 2019

I'm Brennan Dunn, I co-founded RightMessage and I'm the guy behind DoubleYourFreelancing.com.

Brennan Dunn @brennandunn

Hey everyone!

My name is Brennan Dunn, and I'm the co-founder of RightMessage and the guy behind DoubleYourFreelancing.com.
RightMessage started out as website personalization software, but over the last year we’ve refocused pretty heavily toward helping marketers grow their list faster and better segment their visitors through our personalized CTA and surveying features. That’s been working really well.

I’m also the founder of DoubleYourFreelancing.com, a community of over 50,000 active freelancers and agencies. Over the years, I’ve created courses, conferences (RIP), and a ton of free articles and podcast episodes on consulting.

In a past life, I started a web agency (We Are Titans, grew to 11-people and exited in 2011) and a project management SaaS (Planscope, sold in 2016.)

I'll be here from 4pm Eastern Time on August 1st to answer all your questions.

Ask me anything! #ama

  1. 10

    If you were starting from scratch today, given the lessons you've learned over the years, what would you do (and avoid doing) to grow a new info product business?

    1. 10

      I wouldn't start with a book/course. I'd find higher-touch and lower-volume ways of helping people (e.g. workshops) in a way that's ideally super conversational.

      And once I have enough experience teaching a topic, I'd then translate all that dialogue into a monologue – like a transactional course with an accompanying sales page.

      Starting over, I'd start by finding a specific (but not necessarily unique - the Internet is a big and largely solution-unaware place) take on something I've historically helped people with, and then I'd start creating content around that.

      I'd use that content to 1) help me build a list and 2) as "here's why I'm legit" evidence when approaching people who have the kind of audience I'm looking for, and I'd guest post / go on podcasts / etc to try to siphon off some of their audience.

      I'd make my email list super conversational. Almost every email should end with "...I'd love to hear what you plan on doing with this, reply and tell me..."

      And, starting out, I'd go above and beyond with pretty much every new subscriber... get on a call with them, do a little research, etc. This would create a fiercely loyal list, and give me a ton of raw data that I can use to create future content (free and paid.)

      When I'm ready to start selling, I'd let my list know I'm working on a product that helps with X, and that it'll likely cost $Y, and if they're interested to reply back and I'll fill them in.

      These reply conversions would let me explore HOW I should teach... giving me insights into who someone is, what they're struggling with, etc. Basically the pain-dream-fix stuff Amy Hoy and Alex Hillman teach about, but discussed after a teaser P.S. in an email newsletter.

      I'd then try to close the deal – again, via a conversation. Once I have a cohort/class, I'd analyze what I learned and distill it down into a curriculum. And after teaching a handful of times, I'd then consider turning it into a standalone, self-serve course and slowly inch away from high-touch to low-touch.

      Hope this helps!

      1. 1

        This is fantastic, thank you for replying to this and all the other questions here. Cheers!

  2. 9

    What was your thought process on not going super niche with DYF? Freelancers in general seems pretty broad. i.e. why didn't you just focus on "freelance developers", or "freelance designers"?

    1. 2

      When I started DYF, it was mostly people like me... web developers. All the interviews / podcasts / guest posts / etc I did mostly stuck within that bubble.

      But as I started to get more and more traffic from Google (right now it's ~1k visitors a day), the people who were searching for things like "start a freelancing business" started no longer being just people like me.

      Nowadays, my audience breakup (over the last 30 days) is:

      • 30% devs
      • 18% marketers
      • 15% designers
      • 14% "other"
      • 13% consultants
      • 10% writers

      A few years ago, I got an email from a copywriter that basically said "hey, I've heard good things about your course. I'm a writer, but it looks like it's for web developers... can this help me?"

      This is pretty much the inflection point that eventually led me to what I'm doing today: RightMessage.

      Because the DYF content I produce is almost entirely agnostic re: what someone actually does, I started personalizing copy and testimonials to reflect the type of person who's checking out a sales page or browsing around the site.

      Gives me all the benefits of niching – without actually having to niche.

      But I'd almost always recommend someone who's just starting out to focus and go all-in on a niche, and then eventually widen out over time (if it makes sense.) For me, that sort of just happened when I started getting serious traffic from generic search terms.

  3. 6

    Any recommended tactics or resources for growing an email list? The Indie Hackers newsletter is one of our biggest sources of traffic, but I've neglected it a bit, and it doesn't grow nearly as fast as I think it could.

    1. 3

      I don't think newsletters are the best way to incentivize someone to opt-in to an email list: "When will the next be sent? What will I get from it? Oh, yeah, and I'm impatient and want something RIGHT NOW..."

      If the goal is to optimize raw opt-in numbers, at the top of the food chain is something like a content upgrade or something else that's super intentional. e.g. if you host an interview with someone, and that interview gets a lot of ongoing traffic, a downloadable checklist of takeaways from the interview is much more compelling than... "join our list."

      But, otherwise, as a catch-all I'd probably come up with a IndieHackers email crash course that serves to onboard someone into the community AND delivers a ton of valuable nuggets of curated info from the IH community. You get the benefit of being able to say "Enter in your email address and I'll send you the first lesson on X right now" vs. "Enter your email and... you'll get our next newsletter at some point."

      Because I'm getting to now see a lot of email list backends + stats, another effective things to do is to have a quick intake funnel (like a survey/quiz) that points people to a specific lead magnet OR positions a standard lead magnet differently depending on who someone is / why they're hanging around IH.

      Here's a 9k word beast I wrote for Ramit Sethi's site on email courses: https://growthlab.com/anatomy-of-a-six-figure-email-course/

  4. 5

    What advice would you give to someone who just started a software dev consulting agency and is simultaneously working on product ideas? The goal for the agency is to help pay bills/have a revenue stream with a small team so I don’t have to code on client projects.

    1. 4

      That was me back in 2010/11 :-)

      Just note that the time it'll take for a new SaaS to pay the bills is... well, it's likely going to take a while.

      What I'd try to do is make your consultancy extremely productized – tackle a specific problem for a specific problem, and manually fulfill it via consulting.

      You'll get the experience of needing to sell an outcome vs "hire our team", and that'll be invaluable if/when you get to the point where you want to start automating (e.g. using custom software) the fulfillment of your productized service.

      Additionally, the software can serve as lead gen for the agency, and the software can also be downsold to unqualified agency leads.

  5. 4

    Planscope is a product that was presumably successful in a field that already has dozens or more of competitors. What made you build a product in this space? Was it that as a bootstrapped company you didn't need to be heading for the $100M ARR to have a decent business?

    I just found your HN post from 2012 when your Planscope MRR was $2700 so congrats on the eventual exit!

    1. 2

      I made the cardinal mistake of building the project management tool that I wished I could have used at my agency :-)

      But it wasn't a mistake. I did research it (c.f. 30x500 "watering hole" research) and did uncover a lot of problems that I knew this would help solve.

      Additionally, PM software isn't all that hard to sell the idea of. Most agencies/freelancers know they need something to manage their projects. What was hard was changing habits... people were used to whatever they were using, and getting a team to outright switch from Tool A to Tool B – especially if the proverbial house wasn't burning down – is extremely challenging.

      Niched products, like Planscope, can work because everyone wants the tool or service that was made just for them and "gets" them. Put a freelancer in front of a generic PM tool vs software designed for freelancers (that hits on all the major pain points freelancers have), and you have a shot at winning their business.

      Even if I wasn't bootstrapped, I think there's enough people who identify as freelancers/agencies out there, who aren't seeing software that specifically helps THEM, to make it a viable business. Just look at ConvertKit (targets creators/bloggers) getting to $1.5mm+/mo within a super saturated space.

  6. 3

    Hi there Brennan. Your site is my bible. I love it. I have a few worries as of late though.

    You did productising, services, info products and switched back to products.
    However, your products are about people starting service businesses. The very thing you left and not pro for now.

    How do you explain this? How does one become successful without selling success/selling hope?
    Even famous travel blogs now have this oil to them. They become famous and successful by providing information but not really a tangible service. Is selling the shovels and tools for the gold rush the only way to make it online instead of selling real gold (real services/products) but not products on how to sell/make it big?

    Ive recommended your readings and articles to my students at University (lecturer atm).

    Thanks again Brennan. Love your work.

    Aly
    Form the bottom of the world
    New Zealand

  7. 3

    What works in marketing today that you're pretty well sure will absolutely not continue working in 5 years or so?

    Basically, I'm asking you to predict the future, please.

    1. 2

      I'm pretty bearish on human nature, so I don't think the underlying strategies that we see working in the marketing world will suddenly stop working.

      Realistically, the only thing I see changing would be browsers really cracking down on what can be tracked, etc. and pushing updates out overnight that effectively shut down an entire martech sector.

  8. 3

    What's the minimum amount of traffic where website personalization efforts (using tools like RightMessage) are demonstrably useful? I'm constantly thinking I could do a better job converting the [sparse] traffic I'm getting if I spend more time (and money) focusing more on personalization. But then I worry that perhaps without enough traffic, personalization is just a useless distraction. Chicken and egg problem? What's your take?

    1. 4

      I can answer this!

      RightMessage helped me make an extra $2000+ in one month, with ~50 visitors per day.

      So any traffic is the minimum. In terms of revenue, I'd say it's a no brainer for anyone who makes more than ~$1k/month via their site.

    2. 2

      c.f. @louisswiss :-)

      But, honestly, the correct answer is "it depends." If you're selling yachts, you might only care about getting one new customer a year. So if segmentation -> personalized CTAs give you one more lead... that's a big deal.

      However, eliminating entirely any sort of sales page / downfunnel optimization, from a purely top-of-funnel perspective, quiz segmentation -> personalized CTAs are consistently resulting in 20-30% more overall opt-ins across our customer DB.

      Highly recommend most start with increasing overall opt-in volume, and then move downfunnel from there.

  9. 2

    I have signed up with Rightmessage. Spoke to Dana while you guys were at the Pat Flynn conference. I am a real estate agent. Work like a mo-fo on my website. Looking for new lead magnet ideas as many the ones agents use are tired and worn out.
    Can't wait to get RM on my site

    1. 1

      Hey John, I'm a former RE agent myself.

      What lead magnets are you currently experimenting with? I remember calculators and quizzes were pretty big before. I still personally think open houses and cold-calling works best though.

    2. 1

      Awesome!!!

  10. 2

    You have a background in classics and rhetoric, if I'm not mistaken, and you've spoken occasionally about the way that's influenced your work and path into the software engineering business. Can you say a little about the path from intensive study of the "great books" to the work you do now?

    1. 1

      I love this question.

      I went to St John's College, and what I liked (and, in retrospect, loved) about the school was that all classes were 100% discussion-based. To survive, you had to be able to be able to reason your way through Euclid's Proposition 32... rather than just taking at face value that the Pythagorean theorem is legitimate.

      I do think that basically spending years in a giant book club helped me (and my peers) get better at the art of persuasion, which tends to help with this online business stuff.

      Additionally, Plato changed my perspective entirely. Truthfully, I'm more of an Aristotelian (this "form" shit...), but Plato/Socrates helped me see just how malleable human opinion is – especially if you can get someone to personally come to the realization that you were planning on getting them to :-)

      1. 1

        This comment was deleted 8 months ago.

  11. 2

    What would you say are the most important things about your online presence as a freelancer/consultant when it comes to generating leads?

    1. 3

      I think having a strong portfolio of content (whether on your site / YouTube / other people's sites / etc) can be massively helpful when trying to win over a new client.

      Not only can that content be used to get people to know you exist and possibly reach out...

      But you can also namedrop yourself when talking with a would-be client. "I'd probably advise that I help you put together an evergreen email course that funnels new leads toward your paid offering. I actually wrote an in-depth guide on this... here's a 9,000 word article that largely reflects what I'd do for you: <link>"

      What sort of questions do you get all the time from project leads? Write about them.
      What common things do you help your clients with? Write.
      What do you think about some new development in your industry? Write!

      The most successful consultants I know have a strong habit of building (and learning) in the open.

  12. 2

    Getting hired remotely
    VS Finding people to collaborate with and leverage their network
    VS Building your own consulting client base

    If you were starting from scratch, which one would you focus on to earn a good income in the shortest amount of time? And what actions would you take to maximise effectiveness towards that direction?

    1. 3

      Time's the constraint? I'd look for a remote job. They already have a need and they have a position that needs filling. The latter two options take time.

  13. 2

    What assets should you have prepared ahead of time before launching a personal freelancing website?

    1. 1

      It depends on what you think the job of your website will be.

      Is it going to be an extension of your business card, and you'll be doing a lot of networking and expecting the people you meet in person to do their due diligence on you and check you out?

      Or is it meant to generate direct project leads because you have a lot of great, indexed content that people are finding via search or through referral links?

      So much honestly depends on what you're trying to achieve, and who you're selling to.

      I really like Val Geisler's site: http://www.valgeisler.com

      • Has a compelling lead magnet for people who aren't ready to reach out and actually talk about a project (could be better, IMO – I think it's just an email newsletter opt-in now)
      • Her personality is front-and-center
      • She showcases her expertise through written content

      You don't need it all, especially a large stable of content, to start. But I wouldn't let anything stop you... "Hi, I'm Whitney, here's how I can help you" is a great start, even if it's literally a redirect to a public Google Doc!

  14. 2

    Can you cross post this to reddit?

  15. 2
    1. Which is better Drip, CK or AC? Why?
    2. How important is Liquid in automated email marketing? Why?
    3. What's the most important thing(s) to cnoisder when setting up automated email marketing workflows - e.g - custom fields, events, rules, tags, filters, decisions, lists, segments etc?
    4. You've got a lot of courses. Which sells the best. Why do you think that is?
    5. Of all the funnels you talk about (birthday, education courses etc) , what is the one that gets the best open rates or click throughs?
      Thanks!
    1. 2
      1. Loaded question!

      I think if you're doing anything Shopify/ecommerce related, Drip (or Klaviyo, though I don't have personal experience with it.)

      If you're doing anything that involves high-touch management of leads (CRM), then I'd go for ActiveCampaign.

      I'm with ConvertKit now because 1) I know, like, and trust Nathan and the leadership team and 2) their positioning is targeting me.

      1. Liquid's a nice and mature templating language, and it's much better than the substr stuff you find with Mailchimp/Infusionsoft/some others. People want relevant and personal communication, and a combination of madlib-style text transformations + conditional sentences/paragraphs can go a long way toward making that happen. Liquid's a really nice way to do that.

      2. I really like having an organized email backend, so I'd first focus a lot (and document) how I'll use tags and fields to segment. A lot of people get really screwed over when they try to move away from tag-based segmentation (here's why I generally don't recommend tags: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWFA3akPkSA )

      3. Double Your Freelancing Rate, because my primary lead magnet (email course) pushes people to it. If I had more time to mess around with DYF, I'd now route people early on to a specific product based on who/what segmentation. Right now, that only happens AFTER someone's already a customer (e.g. they'll get pitched other products only after buying DYFRate)

      4. Not too concerned about open/click thru rates. I just care about results. My "at your own pace" email course -> dynamic bridge sequence -> evergreen pitch -> survey funnel is my best performing, details here: https://growthlab.com/anatomy-of-a-six-figure-email-course/

  16. 2

    What was the decision behind selling the courses as a one-off instead of going for a subscription model like Safari Online, Pluralsight, etc.?
    Aren't you concerned that you might not be able to hit your targets the next month as the revenue model is less predictable?

    1. 1

      Do you mean me selling subscriptions, or selling through Safari/Pluralsight/etc?

      If the former, being on the hamster wheel of needing to create content to make an ongoing membership worthwhile. Plus, "pay $X, get Y" is generally a lot more palatable to someone than "pay $X indefinitely."

      If the latter, I'd rather fully own the acquisition, fulfillment, and really the ownership of both my content and my customers.

  17. 2

    Hey Brennan, great podcast!

    My wife is starting out as an enterprise sustainability consultant and asked to pass this question:

    Suppose a freelancer anchored a high price for a project talking to client before the proposal. After sending the proposal (assume it's a good one), client slows down saying they are talking to their head office and then comes back with 'the price seem too high'.

    What would be the best way for the freelancer to communicate 'OK, I'm ready to go down a bit'?

    Lets assume the client sees enough value in what's being offered and consultant's authority is established.

    1. 3

      Negotiate on scope, not the cost of a set amount of scope.

      If there's pushback on cost, it's either 1) they don't see the value of what you're proposing / you're too risky or 2) legitimately can't afford it.

      When Option 2, limit scope and drop your costs.

      I like it when people start with a small-ish engagement/project, like paid discovery, and use that to deliver value that outweighs what the client paid, and really sets the stage for you being an amplifier vs. an expense. Find that quick win, deliver on it, and then upsell bigger projects.

  18. 2

    I'm thinking about going 100% in web development.
    I plan to focus on a specific niche, like lawyer websites.
    Would love to know about your though about going niche like that.
    If you've any exemple of members of your community who took this approach, It'll be really interesting to see.

    1. 1

      Nice! I have... thoughts on the subject :-) https://doubleyourfreelancing.com/positioning/

      Most people who go through my stuff eventually end up positioning some (if not all) of their marketing. Lots of examples here: https://doubleyourfreelancing.com/students/

      1. 1

        Thanks Brennan, going to have a look!

  19. 2

    What was your marketing plan/efforts that yielded the most to planscope?

    1. 2

      Planscope never did exceptionally well. But creating sibling content (e.g. since I'm targeting freelancers, I could write about all things freelancing – rather than JUST project management), and then tending a weekly email list that soft promoted Planscope weekly worked really well.

  20. 2

    I remember reading a post a while ago about the FB ads funnel you created for your freelancing course.

    FB ads is evolving really fast lately and I would be curious to know what your best performing funnel looks like today.

    1. 1

      Where was this? I haven't done much with FB ads recently. It's probably been about 2-3 years since I've run any paid ads to DYF.

      I'm pretty crappy at FB ads, to be honest. Most of my subscribers/customers come via search or referrals.

      1. 1

        Uhm I remember reading about it on a guest post you wrote on GrowthLab and maybe also in another article... I even sent you a message on Facebook a lot of time ago about this (that probably ended up in your spam folder 😅).

        1. 1

          Gotcha! Yeah, I've run paid stuff to it in the past and it's worked well – but honestly, I suck at FB ad management. And since I'm passively working on DYF nowadays, I don't have the time to tend to it all... search traffic is the gift that keeps on giving.

  21. 1

    A lot of freelancers come to you to supercharge their business because they are frustrated by a number of problems, one in particular of reliably and repeatedly finding profitable clients. I understand that you and many others recommend creating an “air-tight positioning statement.” But for those freelancers with years of frustrating and unpleasant experiences with random clients, how can one choose a niche that would be pleasant and profitable? I understand that your latest recommendation is to “position your marketing” and not your business, but even with that advice, I don’t see how one can see imagine an unconsidered niche without having lived the experience prior. To borrow from Plato, how can one know what sunshine exists outside of the cave if one has never left the cave? I know you’re a fan of Socrates, so maybe the allegory of the cave can help me ask my question. :)

    1. 2

      Great question!

      Positioned businesses generally aren't a hotly guarded secret, so why not focus first on mirroring what others are doing and... copy them?

      Positioning, at least the way I look at it, is figuring out how you plan on applying your knowledge and experience to solve a particular business problem. We all do – it just typically happens at the proposal stage.

      People get way too stuck obsessing over the "perfect" niche, and instead don't see it for what it is: aligning what you've got with what someone needs.

      Look at the companies you've helped in the past... read between-the-lines and figure out WHY they hired you...

      Can you translate that into "marketing" – by which I mean things like giving a talk at a local entrepreneur group, writing a guest post, or going on a podcast?

      And, if so, how can you create feedback loops that give you raw, voice-of-customer data from the people who positively respond to this sort of shot-in-the-dark marketing you're doing to shore up your confidence, your knowledge, and your expertise for a particular niche?

      Over time, and with enough immersion and experience, you naturally become an expert in any niche. If I think through the consulting businesses of a bunch of friends of mine, they saw activity/momentum in a particular space, decided to learn everything they could about it, started going to events people in that space go to, befriended players in the space, etc. etc. and – boom – now they're now niche experts.

      (Sorry for the longwinded answer. But I generally believe we all have experience/expertise that's "niche" that we can use as a starting point, and that – over time – we can develop more sophistication, or entirely change course. But "OMG niching is scary!" ends up being a boogey man for many.)

  22. 1

    What do you think about trying to pitch local-only job offers on indeed.com for remote consulting gigs? Try to convert them to consulting gigs?
    Have you ever tried this?

    1. 1

      I advise people to stick away from job boards, unless they're in a rut and need clients, no matter how good/profitable, right now.

      But yeah, you could absolutely go after a company who's looking for help, believes they need FT help, and convince them otherwise. Just note that the people doing procurement aren't necessarily always the ones who actually need the help – they're just looking to fill a role.

      This would likely work best with smaller companies who might not know what they actually need and think "FT web developer" is it.

  23. 1

    What is your best tip for creating a high-quality online course in a reasonable amount of time?

    1. 1

      Start by doing it manually at first, through workshops or even by selling highly productized consulting. Once you have enough experience in knowing what needs to be taught, where people get stuck, and how to actually teach... THEN consider turning it into something more scalable / self-serve.

  24. 1

    Hi Brennan,

    I'd love your helpful insights please. How do you deal with clients who want to book in a minimum rate and hours, yet then send piles of work your way, which well exceed that (but don't want to pay anymore or book any more hours?)

    It's completely unrealistic to be able to do everything they've requested in the time they agreed. I've asked if they want to book out additional project hours and yet we don't seem to be getting anywhere. I want to work with them, yet this situation is beyond frustrating.

    I would love some of your wisdom and expertise.

    Thank you so much.

    1. 2

      So they're booking you on a set retainer that translates to X hours of work per month, and they're exceeding that?

      That is, they bought a pass for an all-you-can-eat buffet, and want to get their money's worth? :-)

      It might be too late for this particular client – especially since it sounds like they're comfortable with the way things are, but I generally wouldn't encourage anyone to get in to a retainer situation that's pay $X, get Y hours.

      A more thoughtful response on what to do instead: https://doubleyourfreelancing.com/freelancers-guide-client-retainer-agreements/

  25. 1

    Hi Brennan,
    I love RightMessage. I believe in the product and understand your struggle in increasing your user base.
    I was on to Baremetrics and I have some questions.

    1. What is your Customer Lifetime Value?
    2. What is your Customer Lifetime?
    3. Although you guys are having good numbers, I am a bit concerned about your retention. Why do you think you have less retention? (Offcourse can't compare as you have 0 direct competitors)
      And What are you doing to solve it?
    4. How was FlynnCon?
    5. What is your Target Audience?

    I just have too many questions when I really care about something.

    Cheers!

    1. 1

      Thanks!

      Well, according to Baremetrics, our LTV is pushing $2k – but I don't put too much stock into it at this point (read: it's not actually helping me with decision making, especially since we're not doing any paid acquisition)

      We've recently repositioned ourselves away from personalization software, which had a steep education barrier, toward lead generation. Once we get a customer who's using us the right way, they're likely not going anywhere – there isn't any comparable software at the moment that can do what we're doing.

      The hard part is getting them there, and that's what we're working on doing better. Just because someone's paying – that doesn't mean they're at the point where they're doing what they need to be doing to be successful. We're constantly adjusting onboarding / UX / etc. to connect the dots better, and that's been (and will always be) a work-in-progress.

      FlynnCon was great! Met a ton of people and got to battle-test our new positioning in person.

      Right now, we're focused on creators who are building an audience online and want to better understand (segment) who they're serving, and grow their list and sales faster through personal opt-ins and CTAs.

  26. 1

    As a freelancer in his early stages still, majority of what I do is cold email/advertise on social media. My question is, how would you word an email/post, when reaching out, to get more people interested in your services?

    1. 2

      Cold outreach is difficult and annoying for those on the receiving end, especially if the only call-to-action is basically "hire me."

      I always advocate for meeting people where they are now (that is, they don't necessarily know they have a problem or need a consultant), and finding ways to educating them toward self-actualizing that they're being held back in some way. Then, and only then, stepping in with an offer to get them from here -> there.

      Practically speaking, this means creating authoritative content, leading people intentionally through well-designed automations, and then pitching them on how you can help. But this is advanced level stuff. The best thing you can do now is to inject yourself in existing conversations, whether those be online or at in-person networking events, and keep your ears to the ground.

  27. 1

    Hey Brennan, I've been following you for a wile now and I was really impressed by what you've done with Drip and all your custom code and use of it. Now I know you moved from them (for my part I've actually choose to work with Active Campaign) because they kinda fucked up with their business behaviors, but I wonder why you didn't choose to work with AC and pick Convert Kit? It doesn't seem as much advanced as Drip or Active Campaign in terms of automations?

    1. 2

      ConvertKit is getting there, and I have full trust in the team behind it. I want to know that the company I partner with is in it for the long run, knows (and actively targets) people like me, and is aware of their shortcomings and working to fix them.

      1. 1

        Ok I see, thanks Brennan. Unfortunately I use it in combination with a membership plugin for WordPress named ActiveMember360 that connect directly with AC so, no moving for me :).

    2. 2

      AC has a great workflow editor. Drip doesn't yet, but its automations seem so much more powerful. I'd put Drip in the same category as the enterprise automators (Klaviyo etc) & AC with ConvertKit & Autopilot. They are good, but it takes a lot of lateral thinking (& Zapier) to get to what Drip offers.

      1. 1

        Yeah I agree AC as a much better UX and I guess for the complexity they will follow. They just added a month ago calculation in their automation. About time ah ah.

      2. 1

        p.s/ I don't work for any of them, but I use all of them. My opinions are just that, and my own.

  28. 1

    How do you scale a software development business to multiple developers?

    1. 1

      RightMessage has two developers, my co-founder Shai and Brian. If you're asking about organizing the actual coding, etc. across multiple people, I'm unfortunately the wrong guy to ask.

  29. 1

    What are some important differences to how you approached building RightMessage vs planscope?

    1. 2

      Wow, I've learned a lot since Planscope.

      With RightMessage, I started it by basically doing a bunch of consulting gigs that paralleled the outcome that a then-hypothetical software company would help achieve.

      After doing that a fair amount of time, I built an online course that focused on that same core problem/solution – but was more scalable.

      Then, and only then, did software come into the picture.

      This ultimately helped us quite a bit, and we were able to much better understand the tangible needs of our customers (current and future) more than I ever could with Planscope.

      I also wanted to make sure that this didn't require changing any habits. Someone should be able to set things up, get it up and running, and then not need to do much (or any) logging in to make it worthwhile.

      With Planscope, people (and their team/clients) had to make the product a part of the way they did work. That's incredibly difficult to do, and often overlooked by companies who set out to build task management, etc. software.

  30. 1

    Thx Brennan. I’ve started a content promotion and PR company. I’ve got 2 clients who occasionally need my help but I’d like to find more clients on a consistent monthly basis. Should I do inbound marketing or outreach to find my clients?

    1. 1

      I don't like outreach, especially if you're just outright pitching your services. Immerse yourself in other people's audiences (either in-person or online), and provide a tremendous amount of value – so much so, that they have no other alternative but to start following you and your company.

  31. 1

    Maybe I'm mistaken, but looks like answers aren't happening

    1. 2

      August 1st (tomorrow) I'm jumping in to answer :-)

  32. 1

    What's the story behind the RIP of your conferences? As a conference organiser myself (though not right now) I'm interested to hear.

    1. 2

      Great question! I lost money with every event, and a ton of manpower went into pulling off each event (which means... I lost even more money!)

      For me, it wasn't worth the headache. I loved the events, and it seems most of the attendees did also, but it was increasingly hard to justify.

      However, I really like small group (like 10-person) multi-day masterminds or workshops. Especially since I only need to really move forward if/when I get definite commitment, and I tend to thing – at least as an attendee – that they're more valuable.

  33. 1

    Thanks for doing this AMA Brennan. What was the hardest thing about building a startup around personalization software and how did you guys decide to pivot into the niche of CTA/Surveys? Also, what are your thoughts on the current personalization tools?

    Some context: I have been thinking of the idea of building a personalization engine for marketing imagery similar to Netflix's personalization engine.

    Cheers,
    Soheil

    1. 1

      We made the mistake of being open-ended personalization software: given any conditions/data, change literally anything.

      Almost everyone understand the value prop; few knew what to do first, and most were overwhelmed/intimidated.

      We first realized very few people had the underlying segmentation data that's a prerequisite for personalization done right, so we ended up creating segmentation widgets.

      Then we had people asking "hey, if I find out X, Y and then Z... can I then get their email address?"

      This led us to creating a really nifty visual way of creating these pathways that segment (and sync that data with your email DB, etc. etc.) and then pitching highly personalized opt-ins.

      So now, instead of adjusting EXISTING content on a site, we're ADDING new content for most of our customers.

      We still have plenty of people who are using us for straight-up website personalization, but almost all of them are doing that in combination with our segmentation tech.

      I think most of the existing website personalization software rightfully skews enterprise, which is something we decided as a team we didn't want to do.

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