[Startup Learnings] How we struggled our way to our first $100 MRRWritten by Stefan on 5/27/2022
We've finally entered the $100MRR club with our Chrome extension to transcribe YouTube videos.
But it took us quite a while (hence the title :p)
In this post, I want to talk about the most important things we learned that helped us reach this goal.
Screenshot for proof 😱👇
I know you got no time to read this, so here's the gist.
We learned that:
We needed to be more patient with seeing results
We can't weasel our way out of cold outreach
Building in public helps acquire customers
Giving each team member one goal to move the needle toward reaching our MRR goal helps to focus and move the needle
If any of this piqued your interest, you should keep reading.👇💪
A rough timeline for the project is this 👇
We built the MVP for the tool as a web app last May (2021).
We launched subscriptions in early February 2022
We reached $100 MRR in May 2022
You will see that the gap between MVP and subscriptions is quite big.
The reason for that is because we were being idiots (more on that later)
When we launched the MVP on Product Hunt, we made around $30 or so in transactional purchases.
But we had trouble picking up more momentum after the launch, and so we decided to put the project on hold.
Only after we decided to do these 4 things, this changed:
We started being more patient with seeing results
We started doing cold outreach
We started "building in public"
We all each got one goal per week specifically for this project (focus more)
Let me explain them in more detail 👇
We started being more patient with results
I've always considered myself a fast builder.
Ship fast, launch fast, move fast.
The problem is, that results don't come as fast as we can move.
They take time.
Only after we gave things more time and a proper shot did we start to see results
Be impatient with action but patient with results
We started doing cold outreach
We've always stayed away from this because "it doesn't scale" and it "feels spammy"
There was a line in "The minimalist Entrepreneur" that struck a chord with me.
It goes something like this:
If you're doing SEO or some other type of marketing to get around cold outreach/sales. Don't. It doesn't work.
So we gave it a shot, and it looks like you really can't get around this, it's just part of seeding your initial customer base.
Plus, it gives you an amazing chance to make your offer even better.
Just make sure that you target very specific people and that you give them something in return for their input.
You can't get around cold outreach in the early days
It helps to "build in public"
I've always been a lurker on Twitter.
In February, I started being more active and a good chunk of our customers (4) came from Twitter.
This might not seem like a lot, but it's more than 50%
And the great thing about Twitter is that I'm building up a base of engaged followers/friends that I get to keep even if this project goes bust.
It's an investment in the future.
Twitter can be a sold distribution channel even for semi-related products (like a YouTube tool)
We need to focus more
We have a couple of small bets on different projects.
Plus, we also run an agency model to fuel some of our runway.
One day I came across this concept called "WIG"
It stands for Wildly Important Goal.
The idea is basically to set one goal that exists in parallel to your day to day and that has to be prioritized in order to make sure that this project moves the needle.
If you want to know more about this, check out the 4 disciplines of execution
So every week we set a WIG for this project for 6 months, and we've seen great results with this.
It just helps align everybody that we have to move forward in this project with at least one goal each.
You have to focus at least 80% of your effort on one thing for at least 3-6 months and give it a proper shot.
The overarching theme here is that we usually gave up too early on projects without giving them a real shot.
We also avoided doing the hard work of seeding early customers, like cold outreach and just marketing in general. (except SEO because that's in our comfort zone)
And that we're idiots like I said ;)
Anyway. There's no use looking back unless it's to learn for the future, and that's what we're doing here.
What's your story?
What's something you've learned in the last 6 months?
Shoot me an email 🙏
I have 10 years of experience in VC startups the Engineering part of small teams and am now bootstrapping niche products while applying my learnings.
And I'm learning about sales, marketing, and product as we speak. 😳
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