Oct 2020 | Dark times ($1.6k MRR) 🌑

This month was bad. My inputs were the same. But I didn't get any customers like I usually do. I don't know what went wrong.

I remind myself all the time that the results are not up to me - only my inputs - but it's hard to follow up on it. I find myself drowning in doubt and pessimism. Αs if things will never get good again.

Things got so bad, that I wanted to light a fire under my belly. I wanted to feel alive again. As if something extraordinary would happen that way, and I would come up with an amazing idea.

I did a few bold things to reach that state:
- I told my landlord that I'll be leaving my house in March, 2021.
- I enrolled to run a half marathon in November.
- I decided that I won't be renewing my work contract, which ends in January, and marked a date in November to tell my boss.

I intentionally removed the ground underneath me. There is no going back now. Like the conquerers, that burned their ships upon arrival of the place they wanted to conquer.

I will have no house in March. I will have no job in January. I will have to run a half marathon in November.

Don't get my wrong. Those were calculated risks. I have enough runway for two years. Even if for some reason I went back to making $0/mo.

But, even after doing this, I didn't feel anything. I was completely numb. It didn't feel real.

I started doubting everything, again. My product. My distribution channel. The metrics I track. Everything.

I was looking at competitors.

Tweaking my fonts and tag lines.

Thinking of what my next killer feature could be.

Focusing on things that don't matter.

I was thinking that social media is not the best way to do marketing either. Especially if I want to change my life in a predictable, sustainable and long term manner.

If I could flip this bad situation into a good one, it would be to start investing into something more stable. Like SEO.

I started analyzing my market and creating useful content for long-tail, low competition keywords. But, SEO is a very long game. It will take close to a year to substitute my current channel. I know that. So, it's something I'll continue to invest in, on the side.

I also rethought of the things I'm tracking for Cyberleads, and if they are the right things to track.

So far, I've been tracking my website traffic and my MRR. Because that's the kind of business I wanted to build. A predictable, sustainable business, with stable monthly recurring revenue.

But can I?

My traffic channel is unpredictable, social.

My market is high churn, lead generation.

I started doubting my own product, changing my headline and comparing conversion rates.

I also studied the market. A lot. Days on end. I read about tens of lead generation companies. The result? I found out that high churn is part of the game. It's the same for everyone.

You cannot even imagine my relief..

"Ok, it's not me. It's the market."

And if I've learned anything this year, it's that it's futile to go against nature. To go against the market. Against what people want. What people already do. To bend the universe to your own will.

The easiest and best thing you can do, is to adapt yourself to the world.

The same way I stopped trying to build something unique.

The same way I stopped trying to build something that was my burning life mission and passion.

The same way I stopped trying to build a SaaS product.

I ended up running a subscription based, hand crafted info product, in an unsexy market. But, boy am I grateful.. It's the best thing that ever happened to me. It changed my life. And I love working on the product and with my customers.

So, the same way, I have to adapt again.

Instead of tracking MRR, which in a high churn market is kind of stupid, I should start tracking customer lifetime value and monthly revenue.

I decided to focus on annual and lifetime plans as well. They seem to work great.

I looked at my revenue in October. It was still over $2k, thanks to a an annual subscriber.

That's insane. If you told me a few months ago that I would be making more than $2k, which is my salary, I would fucking piss my pants from joy.

But now, I was stressing over my MRR dropping, because I had some image in my mind of what my business should look like.

High MRR. Constantly growing. No fluctuations. Stable. Consistent. Users sticking around for years on the monthly plan.

But welcome to the real world. Where nothing goes according to plan. And you don't decide what happens. The world does. The market does. If it's a high churn market, then that means users will unsubscribe. Not matter what you do.

You could either kill yourself trying to change that, or adapt.

For me, adapting meant two things:

- I cannot fuck around with my traffic. Understand that I can't take long breaks, because revenue will start dropping.
- I have to focus on LTV, instead of MRR. Focus on long term plans, instead of monthly subscriptions.

I also decided to follow up on what I promised I'd do, in September.

Focus on myself. Investing in yourself can never go wrong.

I started reading books again. Tweeting. Hired a personal trainer, who is a very good friend of mine from high school. At a killer, friendly price.

He helped me get my diet in order. Helped me start working out again. That helped with my mental state.

I relaxed a bit.

And that's kind of how the month went. Not much. Just me realizing that I have to be constantly rethinking, adapting and adjusting my sails to the winds.


@alexwestco

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