May 2021 | Moving forward but sideways ($3.3K MRR) 🔮

This was the first month I spent at my new place. It's by the sea. A lovely, big and bright house.

I'm already feeling the rewards. My productivity and energy levels have risen. I have started working again, trying to take things to the next level.

But let's be real. We are almost halfway through 2021 and I'm not experiencing any major growth.

Maybe my organic social media growth has plateaued. Maybe I have stagnated as an entrepreneur or brand. It's not easy to stay on top of the content treadmill forever. I don't feel like I'm not doing anything different and noteworthy of sharing.

Or maybe it's my product. I know of newsletters that are making crazy amounts of money but I don't know of any newsletters with leads specifically that do.

On the other hand, I know of many B2B lead database products that are making millions.

While I'm slowly trying to build up SEO, I took the chance this month to experiment with something bold. Turning CyberLeads from a newsletter into a database.

At the beginning of the year, I moved my stack from "no code" to "code". Now I can do things like this!

I put together all my lists from the archive and found myself with 10,000 leads. Just enough for a tiny database product.

I made sure to keep everything backwards compatible, just in case. I want with one move to be able to revert everything.

I left the landing page as a database for two weeks.

Week one goes by.
Crickets. Zero customers. Usually I'll get a couple for the newsletter.

Week two goes by.
Again, crickets. Only on the last day of the experiment, on the Sunday I get a paying customer! I got the notification while I was out for a walk and looking for a restaurant to eat with my girlfriend.

And then it started... Pandora's box had opened.

While we are trying to sit down and order, a support message arrived.

The person was very confused as to how the database worked. He was most interested in the monthly updates of the database. Hence, the newsletter.

He also stumbled upon a bug, which made me sweat in my clothes. The database wasn't loading. He was not happy and made it clear.

Picture this: Instead of being present with my girlfriend on a Sunday evening, having a lovely time eating and chatting by the sea, I was stressed and glued to my phone like a teenager, doing customer support for someone on the other side of the world.

Luckily my girlfriend is the most supportive person. But I hate when work gets in the middle of life.

I remember the waiter coming to our table and me being glued to my phone. My girlfriend did the ordering and the waiter looked at me confused, as if I was mentally challenged or something.

Eventually, I replied to the new customer and told him that I will fix the bug as soon as I get home and even issue a refund. I put the phone down and lift my head at last.

I take a deep breath and smile... Ahhh...

What an idiot.

I'm so lucky to be running a newsletter. It's low tech. It has no bugs. No support. I can put all my energy into building distribution instead of spreading myself thin. And I can experience a great work-life balance.

Why do I keep thinking that I need to build a SaaS product?

I quickly recapped the experiment in my head:
- Ran it for two weeks.
- Got one customer instead of four.
- Created customer support out of thin air.
- Created bugs out of thin air.
- Less money.
- More work.
- More stress.
- Worse work-life balance.

That's it. When I get back home I will revert everything.

That's why we should take reversible decisions. To have optionality.

If things go bad you can revert them. And if they go well, keep them.

We can't predict what will work.

When taking reversible decisions, you only need one thing to go right and it might skyrocket your business.

When taking irreversible decisions, you only need one thing to go bad and it might damage your business.

Always build with that in mind.


@alexwestco

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