Mar 2020 | A small detour ($367 MRR) 😩

My total MRR for this month was $367.

$164 MRR for GitGardener, $203 MRR for Cyberleads.

Costs came at about $100.


This month sucked ass. I am very dissapointed in my progress, but at least I can reflect now and see what went wrong and avoid the same mistakes in the future.

So, last month I launched Cyberleads, and I got 10 paying customers like it was nothing. B2B as well! Dream come true, right? This was everything I was asking for!!!!

So.. what did I do? Did I focus on growing it? No, I kept launching new products... what the fuck Alex.

Let me explain. This was my reasoning.

What can you do with startup information?

1. Find prospects, mostly by searching for recently funded companies (this is what Cyberleads does)

2. Find investors, mostly by searching for investors that raised funds recently (this is what Angelstep does)

What is I built a new product, similar to Cyberleads, same business model and style (monthly newsletter) but for investors.

Many products on PH seem to be doing good by helping people raise money, namely InvestorScout and InvestorHunt among others.

So I launched, got a decent amount of traffic but not a single customer. I got half the amount of upvotes and traffic as Cyberleads, but did not get half the amount of customers, I didn't even get one.

But I wanted to validate it correctly. I also launched on Facebook Groups, Reddit and HackerNews. I actually put some work into it and actually did a pretty good job at it. I launched without getting roasted anywhere, even on Reddit! I got more traffic and interest, but no one would pay. They all wanted it either for free, or wanted it to have 1000s of investors, not hundreds. Basically, they want to blast 10.000 cold emails. My product was supposed to help with connecting with a few, but truly active investors.

Anyway, I scrapped that, but I spent two weeks on it.

Two weeks may not sound that tragic, but it's a bit of a shame, when I have two products making some nice and stable MRR.

This is what it looked like. I am on a baseball court. I have been swinging and missing for a looong time now, 18 products into the game I am at this point, and I just swinged and hit one flush! 10 paying B2B customers with a simple, super uneventful launch. The ball is flying high! I should run. But instead of running to chase a home run, I get cocky. "I got this", "throw me the ball again, I know how to do this now". Of course I missed. Thankfully, I didn't lose too much time on it and realized that I should focus on GitGardener but mainly on Cyberleads.

So that was two weeks of the month. What about the other two? Well, I tried to grow Cyberleads, and I tried again by creating products, aka productized marketing.

It's not a particularly bad idea. It doesn't scale, but I'm ok with doing things that don't scale right now. I launched a product for International Women's day and launched it one Product Hunt. It was a list of startups with a woman CEO and I had plugged Cyberleads on the website. It ended number 5 of the day I think, or 6. That is a good place to be honest. But, I got 0 customers. 1 whole week for this, was it a good ROI? No.

Basically the whole month's ROI was negative. Launched one new different product in a different vertical, and one product for marketing for Cyberleads.

I will take risk of calling both techniques false, and ditch them. No more productized marketing, no more new products.

Another problem is that I started looking at my MRR charts to much and started visualizing hitting that arbitrary $500 MRR goal again. I honestly believe these types of goals are dangerous to chase, because they are not in your hands. Look at GitGardener, three months ago, it was at $75 MRR, now it's at $164 MRR, what did I do to grow it? NOTHING! Everything I try does not move the needle, then it grows by itself. We over estimate our impact on stuff like this. The true impact we can have is only on ourselves and our days one-by-one. All you can do is get a little bit better every single day, forget about every thing else, they will follow.


Ok, so this was the end of Q1. These were my goals for Q1:

1. Find a tech, B2B, low maintenance product.

2. Find a reliable, repeatable way to grow GitGardener.

3. Stop writting code before validating ideas

For number one, I found it, it's Cyberleads. I actually just found out yesterday that one of my customers is a multi million dollar startup from Toronto. So yes, technically I have a million dollar company as a customer, that's B2B alright!

For number two, I have not found it, but GitGardener is growing at a phenomenal pace, for reasons I cannot even understand, no increased traffic, no nothing. Don't know, but it's growing..

For number three, I smashed it, the only code I have written is for automating parts of Cyberleasd, and that was when I was at $100 MRR.

If I were to grade on a scale of 1 to 10 the first three months of the year, this is how I would grade them:

January: 7/10 -> Just because I changed country, etc and found a way to work around my constraints (work, limited time, etc) and find a great program, and changed my goals from outward oriented (MRR, followers, etc) to self oriented, mainly focus on yourself and get a little bit better every single day. I turned my constraints into fuel, focus and motivation, and I'm proud of that.

February: 10/10 -> This month was just magical. I felt like I was in a dream. I came up with the idea for Cyberleads in early February, launched on Valentine's day with just a landing page and rushed to build a parashute while falling out of a plane until the end of the month. Although I was stressed, I felt alive. I wish every month of my life felt like this.

March: 5/10 -> I tried things that could have worked out ok, but they did not work out. In hindsight, they were the wrong things to focus on, but whatever.

So, what's next? Simple.

Goals for Q2:

1. Find a reliable and repeatable way to get new customers for Cyberleads.

2. Find a reliable and repeatable way to get new customers for GitGardener.

3. Just like I stopped writting code like a little noob and focused on the business aspect of products instead of the technical, now I want to take it one step further: STOP LAUNCHING PRODUCTS!

For number, I'm really bothered though, since it's growing right now, and you've heard the expression "Don't fix what aint broken". I can invest all my time for now on Cyberleads.

For number one, growing Cyberleads we can go many ways:

1. Productized marketing

We tested this, no.

2. SEO

I have too new of a website with no backlinks, this is playing the long game, maybe in a few months.

3. Quora

This I love, because the tech industry and B2B sales community etc is very active on Quora. There are many questions every single day asked, and they rank well on Google.

4. Direct Sales

This. Look. Let's keep it real. Let's quantify my goals. My goals are to reach ramen profitability. That is around $500 MRR if I were a nomad in Thailand, or about $1k MRR otherwise.

How far am I from $500 MRR? 

Three customers.. What?! That's it? Yes, with a $50/mo price tag, all I need is three customers and I'll get to $500+ MRR.

What if someone put a gun to my head and told me, by this time next month, you have to have three customers, otherwise I'll kill you. What would I do?

Probably either go out to startups and talk, which conviently I can't do right now because of the corona virus lockdown, or just contact people that may be interested.

Why don't I try just that? In the past, with customers development cold outreach and Zoom talks, I had managed to send emails that 1 every 20 converted in a person talking to me to give me feedback for my idea. I think I should do that again. Jason Cohen style sales.

So, to recap, SEO seems a bit too soon now, productized marketing seems too ambitious and non predictable.

Quora is a good "mid-term" strategy and direct sales is a good "instant" strategy.

I will start with Direct Sales this month, starting from Monday, the 6th of April.

My goal is to talk to 5 people.

The first thing I have to do is define my customer, mostly by looking at my current customers and then sending about 25 personalized emails per day asking for feedback.

Steli Efti style:

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