I failed pretty hard doing this in 2019 (last updated was in July), but here’s to a new year. See below for a list of what went down in January of 2020.
A 2020 goal of mine is to build out my consulting practice. I’ve been consulting for years but it was always very passive. Turning this into an active focus was new and would require some trial and error. I had a simple plan, grow my online audience and use that audience to help drive consulting work ( or side projects ). I really kicked this off in January by doing a few things:
- Be more active on Twitter
- Write more here
- Created a profile on Upwork
- Spread the word to my existing network
- Lots of coffee meetings
So far, Twitter has done the most for my online audience (see screenshot).
Twitter is all about original content. I did one long thread (tweet below) on my preferred SaaS tech stack and got a 45% increase in followers almost overnight. I plan to continue this strategy.
Upwork is interesting. I have used the platform extensively from the employer side, but never as a freelancer. At first it felt like I was selling myself short by creating a profile, but I got over that quickly when I set my hourly rate. I am purposefully being very selective and for the types of gigs that I am going after, there are not many listings ( generously < 5 a week). Moving forward I will continue to push this, but of the 15 proposals I sent, only 1 got back to me, 1 followup call and 0 conversions.
The budgets are crazy low and the platform doesn’t do a good job of making it easy for freelancers to find jobs that fit their skillset or wants. I have to go on daily, use a preset filter, and look through all listings (even minimized listings that I passed on). There is a business in there somewhere, but haven’t put my finger on it yet. Will continue pushing on this channel and will update here as I go.
My personal network is split between NYC and San Diego. The San Diego Tech scene is much tighter knit and because of that I think I’ve found more success with it. Unsurprisingly, this channel has netted the most potential clients. I have some ongoing conversations, nothing final yet.
For the first real month, January was very positive from a leads perspective (see below). 6 real leads and of those 5 are in play right now. We’ll see how it goes.
By the numbers:
|Other (Twitter, Social)||1||TBD|
Market Channel Attribution Project
With LeadAide being in the lead space and focused on Contractors, I end up doing a lot of contract dev in this industry. My most recent project was to build an attribution app that sat as a layer in between the lead source ( WordPress sites, HomeAdvisor, etc) and Vonigo (contractor job management software). The app would track which marketing channel the lead came from ( Google, HomeAdvisor ) and then via the Vonigo API, create a lead in Vonigo with the correct marketing channel. This work allowed my client to accurately calculate ROI based on channel.
- It amazes me how poorly documented and unintuitive some APIs are ( yes, Vonigo’s API is one of them, but their support is A1).
- I didn’t realize you could upload leads back into a marketing channel ( like Google ) and calculate ROI based on spend and revenue. Super powerful.
To start, I kicked off January with a raise in the marketing bundle prices. I raised them from $50/year to $200/year.
Why did I raise them?
For a few reasons.
- I felt the original price of $50/year was too low. To get a newsletter sponsorship and a permanent ad spot for ~$4/month was a killer deal. But I think the low price devalued the bundle.
- I wanted to rebrand the supporters package as a marketing bundle. A supporters package is ambiguous, and feels more like charity than a value add. A Marketing Bundle inherently tells you what you are getting.
- With strong growth in November and December, we could justify a increase in cost. So we did.
Some numbers for Huntify in January:
- 43 New Apps Were Published
- 14% Decrease In New Users (MoM)
- 9% Decrease In PageViews (MoM)
- 1 Newsletter Ad Sponsorship Sale
I’m not really fretting about the numbers being down. The decrease in new users is due to someone attempting to game the voting in December by creating a ton of sharklaser emails. I will measure Pageviews over time and am not going to worry too much about a down month. Also, with this being a two sided community, I’ve been working hard on the “supply” side, so it’s understood that the merchant side is lacking. Starting this month I need to spend some time filling the merchant side.
To kick this off I plan on launching Huntify on Product Hunt (how meta) sometime in Feb.
Our Apartment Flooded
Yup, just like it sounds. Narly.
Here’s a pic of our rug being dried out. This sucked, we were in a hotel for a week. I got a real nice taste of what it’s like to work with an HOA.
The only thing I will add to this is if you don’t have renters insurance, go out and buy some. The cost comes out to be around $10/month and saved me over $3000 when this went down. It’s a no brainer.
Finance & Accounting for Operators 101
While I took Finance/Accounting 101 in college, it’s been a while and am looking to sharpen that tool. Which inspired this tweet and set in motion a mission to find a course that I could learn from. I ended up landing on a Coursera course – Intro to Financial Accounting (referral link). To date I am 1.5 weeks in and I’m not going to lie, it’s super dry. I do appreciate the focus on the fundamentals and practice reading financial documents. Will keep you updated on the progress.
We kicked off our 2020 marketing strategy for LeadAide. This involves a mix of FB Lead Ads and Cold email. The FB leads are tied into LeadAide via a webhook and automatically kick off a custom followup sequence. I love the idea of being able to ‘sip our own champagne’ and improving the platform while we use it to close deals. We’ll have some data to share in Feb.
We’ve also got a big redesign happening in February and some new features to rollout.
We officially moved off Woocommerce and integrated with WP Simple Pay. Woocommerce is tough because they persist their own subscriptions within the wordpress DB. This makes it hard to sync up with an app outside of wordpress. The easier and more scalable approach is to have Stripe be the canonical source of truth for our subscriptions and then let that interface with whatever it needs to (apps).
WP Simple pay gave us the stripe checkout we needed without all of the cruft of woocommerce. Now all subscriptions are and customers are stored in Stripe. Next step we can build a stripe/webhook integration into the Indibot app and allow users to upgrade/downgrade as needed.
Another improvement is on the data provider side. We’ve been using a data provider behind the scenes for Indibot and unfortunately it’s unreliable. We’ve nailed down a good alternative and I’m going to start with a small prototype to test it out.