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INTRO 100k / month in 2048 days - a projection

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Ripe

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Hey guys, I've been lurking for a while. Read the millionaire fastlane a couple times and keep recommending it to people. Today I just ordered "unscripted" and felt like sharing my journey so far :)

So here's a little story of how I started my business and what I'm planning to do. Except for relations with family and my health, I'm willing to sacrifice anything in order to grow this thing. I feel like growth is almost like my happiness.

In 2013, while studying engineering, I got an idea for a startup, a cloud-computing service. (It actually didn't start as an idea, but a specific group of people who I wanted to help)

I started out totally overwhelmed with the fact that it was a really hard technological challenge and almost gave up with the excuse "I don't now how". But I decided to learn how to write code and started building it. It took me a whopping YEAR to go from idea to "launch".

So after 1 year I launched my service by getting an article on a big news site in my niche. The first 2 people that tried to use it broke it.. It was pretty stressful but after a few days I managed to fix everything and it started running. First few months it was doing $300 in revenue a month, but I had more expenses than that so I was making a loss..

Around 5 months later I started making a profit (on a monthly basis). I guess around $300 profit a month. It was still pretty stressful at times because the service was not very reliable, so sometimes I worked the whole night to fix something for a client.

About a year after launching I realized this service is working, people want it. So I decided to invest in a software developer to redesign the whole software architecture. Make it more reliable and robust to allow for more clients and less time spent on fixing stupid problems.

I spend around 10k on improving the software using student loans and a credit card, about a year later I managed to break even. It was risky but I'm really happy I decided to do that.

While I was getting this version 2.0 built, during the summer of 2014 I decided to drop out of university.. a pretty big decision but I did it for 2 reasons: I always felt this nagging feeling that I had to study instead of build this business which was very distracting, and I could kind of use the fact that I was studying as a "safety net" which kept me from really diving in..

When I dropped out, it was pretty scary because now I had to make my own money to survive. The business wasn't making quite enough yet so I also did some freelancing work. I think freelancing was 80% of my income and the business 20%.

Last summer (2016) the business had grown enough and I could stop freelancing, this was a huge deal and it still feels unreal when I think back. At the same time I also felt a bit too "comfortable", I felt like I wasn't doing enough to grow the business. I talked to one of my mentors about this and we concluded that I should be way more aggressive/bold in terms of marketing and sales. So I've been learning everything about marketing and copywriting and it's starting to pay off.

It's now 2017 and it's been 3 years since my launch. For the last few months the average revenue is around 5k which still sounds a bit pathetic to me for a business, but it pays the bills for now.. I still hire some programmers every once in a while (freelance) but I'm looking to outsource more and make it grow more.

So, to come back to the title of this post. I've made a 2048 days projection of some of the goals I want to achieve and also a revenue goal. By December 31st 2022 I will:

- Be market leader in my niche
- Expand on suppliers (this is mostly a technological challenge)
- Expand into other (similar) niches
- have 2 fulltime software developers (remotely)
- have 2 fulltime support people in different time zones (remotely)
- do 100k / month (revenue)

The revenue goal sounds crazy to me compared to the 5k, but it's only around a 5% growth each month which is not all too unrealistic. I think the key is just to stick to it. And the funny thing is, since the launch, I have been making a round a 5% growth every month (on average).

Now, this business is supposed to run fully automatically, so the only "work" for me is to reach out to gain new users and to engage with existing users (although most of my users come from google search and I never interact with them before the first sale). So I'm also trying to look at new opportunities and this 100k/m goal is only for my existing business. I do actually expect to have some other stuff going on as well by that time ;)

I think my biggest weaknesses are wanting to do everything myself as opposed to outsourcing, and still being not bold enough in certain situations. Probably still have some of that "concern what people think" left from the teenage years, unconsciously. These are just things I'll also have to work on if I ever want to get near that goal.

I'm happy to post updates here on how it's all going if people are interested. I'll also be reading other peoples journeys and try to learn from them.
 

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Long time no update, which is probably a good thing. If I was writing here all the time I’d be unfocussed as *** :) On the other hand I don’t want to be responsible for one of those abandoned topics of forgotten dreams.

So the update: I’m kind of trying to take a week off, which I wasn’t able to do in a long time since customer support has always been my top priority. I always had to check the support inbox a couple times a day. Fortunately now I have hired a freelancer who’s helping me with customer support, because finally the revenue starts to allow this. This is a really big milestone for me because it literally gives me a ton of freedom.

I’ve been working with him since January, building up a "relation" of sorts and building trust. A few weeks ago I finally gave him full access to the backend of the business. He’s able to handle refunds and everything. It feels great to finally have some help in this area!

I’m occasionally checking in how he’s doing (still have to get used to letting go), but it’s been awesome so far :) He already issued a few refunds, I told him he can be really "liberal" with this because customer satisfaction is way more important than short term revenue. And with one customer he actually issued a refund while I may not have done it that easily.. but today that customer returned and we made a sale 4x the original (refunded) sale :)

In the mean time I’m revisiting UNSCRIPTED and the concepts start to settle in more every time I re-read it.

Few days ago at the airport I saw my first Aventador, and yesterday a Murcielago. They look soooo much better in real life than on pics / youtube vids! I’m not doing all this to buy an exotic car but it’s just a nice cherry on the "cake of motivation" .
 

Certg

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Love seeing the progress!

I'll be watching this thread, I'm interested in seeing how far you take this :)
 
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Thanks Certg!

Woke up this morning and my "machine" already did $400 in sales :D Feels really good. I'm realizing more and more that I just have to stick with this one thing and stop looking around at other possible things to do (I've been thinking about creating an app, doing dropshipping, lead-generation) etc. especially because I see others doing it successfully.

This is all shiny object syndrome and I just have to "stay on the bus", make my platform grow slowly but surely (and exponential). It's easy to say this after such a great morning of course, but I'll have to remember this in the bad times and stay on the wagon.

I'm also reading some other great threads on here and it's awesome to see so many like minded people :D I'm sure is good for the brain to be surrounded by this vibe on a daily basis.
 

Certg

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Thanks Certg!

Woke up this morning and my "machine" already did $400 in sales :D Feels really good. I'm realizing more and more that I just have to stick with this one thing and stop looking around at other possible things to do (I've been thinking about creating an app, doing dropshipping, lead-generation) etc. especially because I see others doing it successfully.

This is all shiny object syndrome and I just have to "stay on the bus", make my platform grow slowly but surely (and exponential). It's easy to say this after such a great morning of course, but I'll have to remember this in the bad times and stay on the wagon.

I'm also reading some other great threads on here and it's awesome to see so many like minded people :D I'm sure is good for the brain to be surrounded by this vibe on a daily basis.
Wow! That definitely fits into the "Progress" side of things.

And yeah, I agree. That "OOO, Shiny!" feeling is strong at times. Just gotta backhand it and keep moving :p

As for the other threads, they've intrigued me so much that I'm considering an insider pass. I feel like it's a small price to pay for the wealth of info that's provided in there.
 

Denis from BE

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Awesome story my friend. I admire your mindset. Can i ask you how old are you ?
 

Walter Hay

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I’m occasionally checking in how he’s doing (still have to get used to letting go), but it’s been awesome so far :) He already issued a few refunds, I told him he can be really "liberal" with this because customer satisfaction is way more important than short term revenue. And with one customer he actually issued a refund while I may not have done it that easily.. but today that customer returned and we made a sale 4x the original (refunded) sale :)
I hope all members read this, because it can be a key to success in any business whether B2B or B2C. I have always found that a liberal refund policy pays off.

I refunded a customer who quoted the wrong Pantone color, and we matched that color precisely. A customer for life.

I replaced faulty product supplied by a competitor and only pointed that out while delivering the replacements. The result was orders many times larger than the original.

It was difficult to persuade my franchisees to adopt such a liberal policy, but as they gradually though reluctantly adopted it, they one by one told me how pleased they were to have made the change because of the boost to business it generated.

One of your best customers can be a disgruntled and even angry customer that you have treated way beyond what anyone could expect, and that applies particularly to the issue of refunds.

Walter
 
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Awesome story my friend. I admire your mindset. Can i ask you how old are you ?
Thanks Denis, I'm 26

I hope all members read this, because it can be a key to success in any business whether B2B or B2C. I have always found that a liberal refund policy pays off.

I refunded a customer who quoted the wrong Pantone color, and we matched that color precisely. A customer for life.

I replaced faulty product supplied by a competitor and only pointed that out while delivering the replacements. There result was orders many times larger than the original.

It was difficult to persuade my franchisees to adopt such a liberal policy, but as they gradually though reluctantly adopted it, they one by one told me how pleased they were to have made the change because of the boost to business it generated.

One of your best customers can be a disgruntled and even angry customer that you have treated way beyond what anyone could expect, and that applies particularly to the issue of refunds.

Walter
Thanks for sharing Walter! I believe this is very true. Being customer focussed, liberal with refunds etc. is probably one of the main reasons why my customers turn into returning customers.

I'm tracking daily how many customers I have and I separate them into "one time customers" and "returning customers". As I'm writing this I have 208 one time customers and 301 returning customers :)

A while ago I realised I should put more energy into developing a relation with my existing customers, turning one time customers into returning customers as opposed to constantly looking for new ones. It seems to work really well.
 
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Lately I’m trying to spend more time looking at my bigger picture / vision for the business, and whenever I do that I feel like updating this thread.

Since November I’ve been setting goals/tasks EVERY DAY, no excuses, and keeping myself accountable by participating in an 8 person mastermind, doing a Skype call every single day, no excuses. (we did skype calls through Christmas, New Year’s etc.) The daily tasks also have to be growth-related or revenue generating of some sort. It’s quite crazy what this has done with my work ethic and it feels really good, a sense of control.

The revenue hasn’t been growing as much lately though, but this might be due to looking at the short term (monthly) stats. When comparing 2017 with 2016 I have more than doubled revenue, which is pretty good. My last quarter (2017-4) has been my best one ever in terms of revenue. But so far, the start of 2018 isn’t too exciting.. the start of 2017 was better.

During a session of thinking about my numbers and reasoning backwards to what I have to do, I made a very simple set of KPI’s which I need to increase in order to grow my revenue:

More revenue: more sales OR increase prices
More sales: more proposals OR increase close rate
More proposals: more traffic OR increase conversion rate
More traffic: Organic, PPC, etc.

My close rate is around 35%, conversion rate around 4%. Assuming they stay the same, right now I’m simply working on increasing traffic. I’ve got some methods, using Facebook ads for retargeting and of course good old Adwords and working on setting up some partnerships with influencers. Setting up a YouTube channel with tutorials, etc.

I’ve also came up with some ideas that are very related to the service I’m offering, but could possible tap into a bigger market (niche is good but I feel like I’ve niched down too much) and allow for a recurring revenue model. I hope I don’t regret spending time on this later since it kind of deludes focus on the core business a bit.. but it’s related enough for me to rationalize it being a good investment of my time.
 
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It's been more than a year. 2018 has been interesting. I broke up with my gf, moved out of a house I shared with friends, now renting my own apartment in a new city.

About a year ago the revenue was going down quite a bit, during the breakup period too, pretty stressful. Last summer I was wondering whether I should stick with this business or move on since revenue still wasn't great. But then Sept. was my first 5 figure month, and after that I had two other 5 figure months. January was my best month ever, 19.3K USD net revenue.

If we zoom out and look at the yearly revenue, I broke the 100k/year mark about a month ago, now at ~105k / year. This is 11% less than I wanted according to the original projection.

So far so good, I'm doing a lot of work now that doesn't increase short term revenue at all: building a whole new web app from scratch which solves tons of problems and implements a lot of feedback I got from my users over the years. It's a lot of work, I'm coding myself and hire experts to give me advice and help me out with the difficult stuff. It's kind of a leap of faith, but I believe this should allow my business to solve problems better for bigger clients than it can now.
 

Lee H

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Hey @Ripe thanks for a great thread. Looking forward to hearing more updates.
 

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We're about to hit Q3. I've had a massive wave of motivation for building the business, which I wanted to capitalize on so I pretty much cut out everything and just focused on: consistent sleep, gym 6x / week, and work. No new girls, (almost) no dates, very little social life. And I've got a lot done! I haven't been doing it all myself, hired 5 developers during this project so far (all parttime). I would feel bad if I'd be doing all the work myself, I think I found a nice balance because I don't want to completely remove myself from writing the software because:
- It's fulfilling to be able to summon an "army of robots" in the cloud
- I still have leverage because I make computers work for me
- Keep my brain occupied with complicated stuff which keeps me sharp

About to launch the web app, which is a bit scary, but that makes it feel like I'm on the right track. I'm in one of those cliche entrepreneurs situations, launching this thing with the bare minimum features I want to include is like throwing myself off a cliff, no way back, and on my way down, while it's live, I'll have to add the rest of the important features and build the proverbial airplane.

Revenue hasn't been growing a lot, I'm at 106.5k yearly now, but I honestly haven't been doing anything to grow it so I can't complain. All I've done is work on this new app which is not live yet so no real world results have happend as a result of it. Plan is to get this thing live and continue the growth from there :)

Once my motivation for business dies down a bit (which it will, just the nature of things). I will have my discipline take over and keep working. But I don't want to keep neglecting social life for too long, since getting better social skills will help in business too.
 

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Hi @Ripe

Thanks for a great thread.

Is this new web app a new iteration of the service you already provide or are you building something new?
 
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Cheers @Sadik it's an iteration of what I already provide (the thing that's making the money now while I work on the new one). It's based on a lot of feedback form users I received, missing features, and issues that have popped up in the past that I want to prevent with this new system.
 
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Today's the last Sunday of 2019Q3 so time for an update:

Just spent some time planning Q4, exciting days.

Revenue is not good though.. dropped below the magic 100k/year mark down to around 94k.. Reason for this is simple: I spent pretty much all my time and energy over the past year on building a new platform that’s not live yet, so that work has zero impact on growth (so far)

I’ve been delaying the deadline many times.. which is bad. 3 months ago I said I was about to launch.. but now however, I expect with 99% confidence we’ll be able to deploy this thing in October.

Biggest reason for the delay is slower work than anticipated, and unforeseen tasks that pop up after diving into the rabbit hole of proper web application practices. It’s going to be so much better though than what’s running now, it’s ridiculous. This will be such a solid foundation to build/expand upon, and maintaining this thing will be a breeze compared to the current Frankenstein situation.

Also, I spent some significant time this Summer off the business. I’m not planning to do this often, but I felt I had to work a bit on my social skills like I mentioned last update. Did some networking, traveling, dating, had a blast. And was so energized to get back to the grind afterwards. I don’t regret it. I had an opportunity to get to know some amazing contacts. If I wouldn’t have done this, I’m quite certain there would be this nagging feeling of "what if", and now I know.

Finally, I’m doing THEMFCEO’s #75HARD challenge. If you don’t know, TheMFCEO is a business podcast (highly recommend it). This program is 75 days of working on your grit, discipline, and mental toughness. I’m at day 21 as of writing this. Feels good, it has a positive influence on my productivity already.
 
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It's the end of the year, so a quick update on the business progress:

Revenue hasn’t changed much over the past quarter. Which is not surprising. I was deliberately working on improving the service rather than promoting it. I finally launched the new web app around the end of November though, which was a huge milestone. While I did so, I screwed up the SEO slightly which caused a drop in sales, but I found the issue and things are recovering. Valuable lesson learned there.

The end of the year I’ve spent a lot of time fixing some teething problems with the new app. Talking to users, getting feedback, implementing small new features, and planning the next year.

2020 will be all about promoting/marketing/sales, talking to my users and gathering / implementing feedback. I have tons of new ideas to work on and it’s really exciting to just sit down every day and get to work.

My natural tendency is just to constantly improve the service by both coding myself and coming up with higher level ideas which I then delegate to other developers. That’s the most fun for me and probably my comfort zone too.

So because of that tendency I have to be the "engineer", I’m going to force myself to spend time on marketing and sales every single day, 7 days a week. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but I just need to do one thing every single day that contributes to this side of the business because I don’t naturally do that. Maybe I’ll hire someone to do this at a later stage, but for now I think it’s a good way to go out of my comfort zone and be a bit more "plugged in" by talking to people in the industry.

Another thing I really need to spend more time on is very accurate tracking of important metrics, which will help me figure out how much effort I need to put into the actual marketing and sales, and be able to just look at it like a math equation.

I like the fact that I’m actually more excited about growing the business and becoming the best in my industry, rather than extracting a huge profit out of it. It gives a lot of clarity.

I wish you all an amazing launch of the new year!

Cheers.
 
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I'm just going to keep updating this every quarter. So here we are, 2020Q2. Even though the world’s in a very strange situation right now, it’ll keep spinning. I’ve done some planning but the situation is quite uncertain and I have no idea if this will be over in a month, or whether it’s gonna take a whole lot longer..

I’m will keep working on this thing from home. I’ve been talking to at least 3 customers or prospects a day, 7 days a week every week of 2020 so far and got some good results from it. Fortunately I don’t need human contact to operate the company. I’m delegating work to 3 remote people at the moment, so got some leverage going. I also see a lot of cloud computing providers becoming very interested in partnering up with my business and I’m having meetings here and there with them to see how we can help each other.

Sales are still bad due to the SEO hit we took after the update of the website. I have now pretty much fixed every single issue I can think of and I’ve started to go on the offense by just spreading the word more and trying to get big websites to link to me.

Dating situation is better than ever fortunately so that’s not really a distraction as it used to be. I feel so stupid to have ever worried about this area of life and let it be such a distraction from business, oh well.

I hope everyone on here is doing well, healthy at home or doing an "essential" job, stay safe!
 

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