August 2021 | From vine, to vine, to vine ($4.5K MRR) 🌴
August was a lovely month, just like the rest of my summer. I wasn't in Italy with my friends and my girlfriend. I was in Greece with my family at our summer house in the mountains. I have been coming here every August since I was a child. And every single year, I sat on this same balcony and looked back on the previous year. A little retrospect, if you will. "Where was I this time last year? Professionally. Personally. Emotionally." "And where do I want to be this time next year?" Last summer, I experienced the craziest growth since my teenage years. From: August 2019, when I was building little side projects and launching them on Product Hunt. To: August 2020, when I had moved abroad, started a full time job, built an online brand and was running a successful, profitable B2B business. It was insane. Hard to top that. And to be honest, this year it hasn't been that crazy. I haven't grown that much professionally. Or financially. Everything is within the same order of magnitude. Thankfully, I had a flashback and got my head together. This time last year I was sitting in exactly the same spot I am sitting now and was stuck in a React code base at work. Trying to get a customized ChartJS graph load and show properly on all screen sizes. I also remember having a problem with rounding the corners of some bars. It took weeks for me to complete and it wasn’t going anywhere. I was also running CyberLeads on the side. I was stressed and felt pretty useless as an engineer and an employee. I remember having a 1-1 chat with my manager and me apologizing for being so late. Yes. The same manager that fucked me over one week before leaving the company a few months later. So happy to be sitting here now, working for myself. It’s quiet. I can only hear the cicadas and my thoughts. How nice. My quality of life has skyrocketed. Maybe that's worth something also! After all, work and money aren't everything. This time last year I was the fattest I've ever been. I was stressed, constantly in meetings and had no time. I looked 30 years old and I was 26. This year I'm super chill. Have all the time in the world. Work out daily and eat healthy. Live in a lovely place by the beach. Have a personal trainer. Read. Write. Learn languages. I have started living my ideal lifestyle and have started traveling the world. So yeah. Maybe I did experience similar growth. But it was in a domain that is not quantifiable. That makes me happy and gives me hope, since I don't like being stagnant in life. That being said, I still want to grow financially. Because, let's face it, money doesn't buy happiness but it comes pretty close. If I didn't have a business, I would still be working for someone else and be fat and miserable. So.. what do I do from here? How do I grow? Well, one thing I've been thinking about this year is finding that next leverage point for myself and my business. Finding that next vine to swing off of. Here is my progression during the years: - Level 1: From nothing to something. I built my first products and managed to get a few free users by reaching out to people. Friends, family, strangers, whatever. You are exchanging your time 1-1, which means it's easy to get up and running but has a low ceiling and is hard to scale. - Level 2: From something to the hundreds ($X00) I managed to get my first paying customers by utilizing launching platforms like ProductHunt and Reddit. Here you are not trading your time one-to-one so you can get many customers. You can also utilize this distribution channel from day one, since it's not yours. However, since you don't own it, you can't use it again and again. - Level 3: From the hundreds to the thousands ($X,000) I managed to scale CyberLeads by utilizing my Twitter account I had been running for a couple of years. Here you have disconnected your time and your outputs quite a lot. But it takes a while to build, because it's your own distribution. Repeatable? Yes. Scalable? Yes. But unstable and have to keep pedaling every single day. - Level 4: From the thousands to the tens of thousands ($XX,000) This is where I am at now. Realistically, maybe just continuing to do the same thing with Twitter and word of mouth would be enough. But I really want this kind of distribution channel, as I want to avoid burnout. My guess here is that I need SEO. It takes longer than any other channel to build. But just to understand it's power, the average lifetime of a tweet is one day. The average lifetime of a blog post is 3 years. Enough said. Plus, it scales amazingly well and doesn't need you showing up. Build systems that don't sleep so you can make money while you sleep. I've been working on SEO in 2021 and I've just had the first glimpses of success. One customer in July. Two customers in August. Maybe we are onto something! In reality, I should use a combination of these. Twitter + SEO + Affiliates + Launches + Word of mouth would be the ideal combination for me.