I launched Koala Rank here on Indie Hackers on January 2020.
It's mind-boggling to me that, 16 months later, I'm still developing the business as well as writing and talking about it.
Today Koala Rank's story was featured on Starter Story, a fantastic resource for entrepreneurs to find stories they can draw inspiration from for their own ventures.
Koala Rank was very much a process of learning what made sense to me (Arrigo) that others valued as well. And incredibly a lot of people found value in pushing for 100% original content on their website, so much so that I made my first hire yesterday.
The post on Starter Story is full of anecdotes and original imagery that I've collected over years of work as both a freelancer and then an entrepreneur. There's also never-before-seen performance data as well as tips on how to use certain systems for your business.
Check it out here » https://www.starterstory.com/from-freelancing-on-fiverr-to-starting-a-business
Koala Rank's MRR has gone up and down depending on the pricing setup as well as changes happening with the business model but lately it's stabilizing and growing at a predictable rate.
$6k/mo is a significant milestone because it roughly equals ~€65000/year which is the threshold for a business in Italy to get out of flat-rate taxes and into "standard" VAT territory.
(i.e. big boy league)
There are plenty of improvements going on with Koala Rank and while currently there are some known issues with our marketing and service setup, they're being tackled promptly.
Namely, we need to:
Productizing the business model from scratch has been a challenge but the benefits are clear:
» Lower churn rates with affordable monthly pricing
» Better customer retention and satisfaction rates
» Sales process now takes 3-5 days to complete
» Productivity & efficiency increasing steadily
There's still a lot of work to do. My next goal is to reduce email communication to a minimum and implement a communications strategy that involves support ticketing and help documentation.
Need help with productizing your service?
Happy to give you a few heads up :)
It was a long time coming.
With Koala Rank being such a small operation, having to create a 30+ page PDF guide was always my achilles heel.
I couldn't get it done properly with the all the other "stuff" looming around and I didn't want to create crap for the sakes of it.
Just a few days after Koala Rank's 1st anniversary (1st of January!), I've finally released Content Marketing: How To Scale Your B2B Firm [Guide] and made it available for free.
No opt-in required.
It's a 34-page document full of actionable insights on what content marketing is all about and how you can use it to scale your B2B firm. No copy and paste here, just years of experience.
Grab it here » https://www.koalarank.com/resources/guides/sybf/ and leave a comment to let me know what you think!
I've been working on Koala Rank for about a year now and I'm happy to report that we just got our 10th customer!
My personal goal in 2020 was to reach exactly that number for this venture and I'm extremely glad I was able to do it.
Koala Rank has been an incredible learning experience so far and I'm looking forward to building more and more of it.
A few of the improvements on the site so far:
» The resource section is fully laid out with downloads, blog posts, and a community including a newsletter and a podcast
» Our customer section has expanded to show verticals and industries we work with for both prospecting and SEO
» Thanks to @Vinrob's ManyRequests, we were able to integrate a fully-fledged client area to the services provided
» We've launched a partner program to collaborate with startups who can lend their expertise in exchange of ours
» For each service provided, we now have an extensive array of feature pages explaining everything we do in detail
» I'm working on getting a few tools up and running such as content marketing budget and ROI calculators
All of these changes have brought challenges as well as a lot of interesting results. The goal was to structure a front-end site architecture that would allow to create any type of content.
Being that we sell content marketing, it's important for me to expand into audiovisual content as well—not just blog posts.
If you're interested, the podcast is just starting out:
Looking forward to 2021!
I've spent the last few months deep in the weeds doing dozens of sales calls for Koala Rank and I've noticed an objection pattern which I think can be solved with a new plan.
Long story short, we used to offer both content strategy and creation always coupled together, there was no way to detach them. But clients often have a hard time accepting the fact that they don't know who's going to write their content even though we reassure them we only pick native, niche writers.
Working with partners and clients since launch, I've noticed that they like to have some control of what's being written, probably because they know their culture best and want to translate that into their writing themselves.
So, today, I am happy to announce that our first-ever "self-managed" plan is available for purchase.
We're not getting rid of the fully-managed plan anytime soon, we're simply giving out more flexibility at a lower price point. We already have some clients who may be interested :)
Any feedback is appreciated!
After months of work done behind the scenes, Koala Rank just got its 5th client signed up to our monthly recurring plan. This is a huge milestone because there was little to no top-funnel marketing effort done to reach this point.
This isn't a long post, I just wanted to share a bit more about Koala Rank now that things are truly picking up. I'm planning to launch an extensive marketing campaign for Q4 and it's going to be quite the journey. Wish me luck ;)
It took a while but I was finally able to get the Google algorithm to play nice with Koala Rank.
We have multiple blog posts ranking at the moment, with the first one targeting keyword "content team roles" at position 4 for the US (our main target).
These are all keywords that have low to medium search volume as they are easier to rank for.
All posts and pages are showing positive SEO signals (apart from one which got kicked out of SERP #1 yesterday for some reason 🙄) with Google Search Console giving us a clear picture of where to improve and what keywords to optimize for going forward.
Looking forward to work on the main pages as well which require a much "heavier" hand with backlinks.
Wish me luck 😁
… and they bought a premium plan!
It’s funny because they’re the same people that I thought I had lost after our first sales call (link to the thread talking about it below):
Turns out, they were still interested.
I received an email about 10 days ago saying they wanted to proceed with a quarterly plan, and sure enough, they went through with a premium quarterly plan yesterday.
I’m honestly speechless.
7+ months of work coming full circle.
The idea that people are actually interested in what we’ve built and that they’re considering working with us on a monthly retainer basis is humbling to say the least.
I guess now is the time to prove ourselves! I’m extremely excited to start this new journey and I’m looking forward to crafting great content for our clients’ blogs.
Thank you so much to everyone at IH who helped with feedback.
It’s been a fantastic experience, even through all the issues.
See you around!
Ever since I started working on Koala Rank, I wanted to give people the power to choose what they wanted to do with the product.
I’ve been taking baby steps in that direction through a lot of the feedback that I got from both you guys and prospects in January.
Yesterday, I introduced a (very simple) dynamic pricing model that allows prospects to choose how many blog posts they need per month, and I’ve also added dynamic toggles for monthly/quarterly billing cycles.
This dramatically lowers the barrier of entry investment-wise and should be a good base to build upon going forward.
This choice of a “modular” productized service comes from:
I’ve been told from a couple sources that the pricing feels a bit complicated now, but I’m not sure about that…
What do you guys think?
PS: Feel free to follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ArrigoLupori if you’re interested in content marketing and productized services. I release tips on how to be more productive and efficient with your content fairly regularly.
Honestly, what a ride...
https://www.koalarank.com is, by all means, the most ambitious thing I've ever done in my life.
When I decided to commit to it about four months ago, I didn't fully realize what that meant. Fast forward to 1 January 2020 and I've built a business. From scratch. On my own.
And no, I'm not talking about bringing a random landing page up and hoping for the best. I'm talking about hours, days, weeks spent on validating the idea, doing market research, deeply understanding the business model, the competitors, the implementation.
The fact that I was even able to get to this point gives me hope because, after one year and a half as a freelancer, I was ready to commit to something bigger, something that I had never done before. And so I did.
Koala Rank is the combination of my freelancing career paired with a huge passion for writing and a constant drive to do things that matter. It's a content marketing service, but I've structured it in a way that could scale to eventually become the biggest marketing agency on the planet.
Not that I'm planning to get there anytime soon 😜But having that growth path was always important to me; so I fully integrated it into my business. Now, all that remains is running that same business, and I can't tell you how excited I am to start this journey with you guys.
Goodbye 2019, hello Koala Rank 🐨
Generate more traffic, subscribers, and leads with Koala Rank: the all-in-one content marketing service for small B2B firms. Get a free demo on KoalaRank.com, no strings attached.