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Chris Franklin

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 30, 2018
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Raleigh, NC
I didn't start my entrepreneurial journey here on the Fastlane Forum, but I feel like I have absorbed a lot of great data in the last couple weeks and wanted to start giving back to the community. My hope is that this will someday be a valuable testimony of my journey that will help someone else the same way a lot of the other threads have helped clarify a variety of topics for me.

The Journey So Far...
As I said, I didn't start my journey here. I have had 3 business flop for the typical reasons: me focused, with very little input from customers, and no one wanted the solutions I built. I started building the first of these projects about 5 years ago and spent entirely too long on it before realizing how much time I was wasting on a product no one wanted.

3 years ago, I tried my hand at a much smaller project that was a re-niched version of a successful project I liked. No one in the new niche saw the value of the project and I made a grand total of $14 from it... from my Dad.

2 years ago, one of my work buds and I spent 6 months pitching a "World Changing" startup idea. I am really glad we got no funding...because in hindsight I would not have been happy in a traditional VC funded founder role.

And so 1 year ago, I struck out to "bootstrap" a startup. I joined a community of fellow bootstrappers and began working on my next big SaaS idea. This time I had mentors though that walked me through customer first approaches. I talked to my potential market and picked their brains and found a problem that needed solved. At least that was the initial conversations I was having by calling customers.

I put together a signup list and began driving targeted traffic to the landing page. I wanted to measure how far the idea resonated. In short... no one signed up. I drove over 1000 page views on that landing page and zero signed up. In fact, I ended up getting an email from 2 of the site visitors asking the same question: "Who would need this?"

I shelved the idea and coincidentally the bootstrapping community leader reached out to ask if I would be interested in testing out his new Startup Academy. I said yes and began working on a new idea.

This most recent idea has some traction so far. I have 60 list signups in 3 months. I also completed a course and pitched that to the list. So far I have sold 4 copies of the course! I think with a few years of focused building I can grow this idea to a full-scale Fastlane business. I think the topic (Learning to Code) has a lot of potentials but it will take me a few years of building free content and courses to fully realize it.

Immediate Goals

Building a business around courses is fun, but it is a long-term play. My immediate situation is I am stuck in a Slowlane job that I am not happy with. I have some personal motivating factors that make me want to find a faster way to separate my time from how much money I bring home. I know I will never be able to focus on this full time until I accomplish that goal.

So, I have a short-term play for injecting money into my primary business. I had one of my email list subscribers reach out and ask me to design a website for their company which I agreed to for a pretty good fee.

I have been reading every gold thread on the forum, and the one from @Lex DeVille about landing jobs on UpWork seemed like another good way to start earning a few bucks quickly. I created a profile last Monday and started writing my first proposals. I immediately landed a $100 job to update a widget in Wordpress.

Then, Thanksgiving hit and the number of US based jobs went down pretty drastically so I decided to just focus on my family.

But, yesterday I applied for a few more jobs and landed both of them. I completed the first one in a few hours for a cool $200. The third job on my list will take a couple days (writing a custom wordpress plugin) and is for $300. The fun thing: that $300 job is actually a repeat job from my first client because he was so happy with my original work!

Once I have a few more clients and a bigger runway, I want to follow the advice of @Fox and @Sean Marshall and consider setting up an Agency, instead of doing all the work myself!

Once I start that process I will be sure to post another update!
 

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Chris Franklin

Chris Franklin

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 30, 2018
14
53
23
37
Raleigh, NC
Hey there FLF!

I wanted to drop a quick update since I have made some good progress in the last week. My Upwork jobs are going well. In the last week alone I have closed over $600 in contracts. Each contract that closes is another 5-star review, which is making it easier to win even more bids. Feels a bit like a flywheel, right?

Ok, but I don't want to spend all of my time working on the Upwork platform. The 20% fee is killing me! So, I have been hustling this week and making cold calls and sending cold emails to local businesses asking if they need development help (I decided to focus on software development since that is my day job, instead of Marketing and/or Web Design like @Fox and @Sean Marshall). None of the 20 companies I spoke too hired me. BUT, one of them actually sent my contact information on as a referral to a new startup here in town and they reached out and hired my services!

My first non-Upwork job is to set up a new AWS account and get some Ruby code he bought in a firesale running on it so he can play with it. Overall, about 3 hours of work for $400. He has a long list of additional work that he wants to be done, so this will probably be a long-term source of work.

If all goes well, I will be at $15k/month soon and looking to hire my first employee! All-in-all, not a bad week of work.
 

George Appiah

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Aug 16, 2018
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Accra, Ghana
Ok, but I don't want to spend all of my time working on the Upwork platform. The 20% fee is killing me! So, I have been hustling this week and making cold calls and sending cold emails to local businesses asking if they need development help...
I'm wondering, what's your thought on investing in a solid online presence and creating inbound marketing assets, along with a process and a system which would generate an ongoing flow of new clients over time -- as opposed to the "feast or famine" approach of pursuing one client at a time via routes like Upwork, cold-calling, etc?
 
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Chris Franklin

Chris Franklin

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 30, 2018
14
53
23
37
Raleigh, NC
I'm wondering, what's your thought on investing in a solid online presence and creating inbound marketing assets, along with a process and a system which would generate an ongoing flow of new clients over time -- as opposed to the "feast or famine" approach of pursuing one client at a time via routes like Upwork, cold-calling, etc?
I am probably not the right person to ask about that since I am brand new to doing consulting work. But I do think it will help to have some form of inbound marketing. I mean, it can't hurt to have people finding you naturally!

I honestly feel like referrals are going to be the primary source of clients, even if I do get good at inbound marketing though. Why? Because I have landed 4 distinct clients so far, and 2 of them have already given me more work and 1 other has a long laundry list of stuff to do that we are already talking about. Plus, this one client came from a referral from someone that wasn't even my client! So my gut tells me, referrals will be key to growing this business.
 
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Chris Franklin

Chris Franklin

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 30, 2018
14
53
23
37
Raleigh, NC
A quick update!

One of my clients just signed me on for a $2500/month retainer to do random programming tasks for them. That is for mostly consulting and random coding tasks up to 10 hours per month.

For those keeping track that brings my first month total to $3400. This is a lot of hard work, but it is completely paying off!
 
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Chris Franklin

Chris Franklin

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 30, 2018
14
53
23
37
Raleigh, NC
Hey all!

I just wanted to do a quick drive-by update. I know a lot of people on this forum post for a couple of weeks and then you never hear from them again. I just wanted to verify, that my life is still changing thanks to what I have learned from @MJ DeMarco and his books.

I am still not "Fastlane", but my life is changing for the better because of this place. Thanks to some advice from @Fox and @Lex DeVille I decided to take my Design and Development background and go out and get some Freelance work on Upwork.

I haven't replaced my Day Job income, nor do I plan to with Freelance work. Instead, I am using the ~$4k per month to pay off my wife's medical bills from 2 years of cancer treatment. This is giving me breathing room in both time and money.

I finally feel like I am in a place where I can spend real time focusing on solving problems for other people without my own life falling apart around me. This is going to be the key to me reaching the Fastlane!

Even without reaching that coveted Fastlane, everything I have learned from the community here has started me down a path toward a better life. I will continue on this journey and make sure to update you all when I have the time. After all, being an entrepreneur is busy work ;)
 

MJ DeMarco

Administrator
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 23, 2007
30,647
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Fountain Hills, AZ
Hey all!

I just wanted to do a quick drive-by update. I know a lot of people on this forum post for a couple of weeks and then you never hear from them again. I just wanted to verify, that my life is still changing thanks to what I have learned from @MJ DeMarco and his books.

I am still not "Fastlane", but my life is changing for the better because of this place. Thanks to some advice from @Fox and @Lex DeVille I decided to take my Design and Development background and go out and get some Freelance work on Upwork.

I haven't replaced my Day Job income, nor do I plan to with Freelance work. Instead, I am using the ~$4k per month to pay off my wife's medical bills from 2 years of cancer treatment. This is giving me breathing room in both time and money.

I finally feel like I am in a place where I can spend real time focusing on solving problems for other people without my own life falling apart around me. This is going to be the key to me reaching the Fastlane!

Even without reaching that coveted Fastlane, everything I have learned from the community here has started me down a path toward a better life. I will continue on this journey and make sure to update you all when I have the time. After all, being an entrepreneur is busy work ;)
Awesome news, one step before two. Hope the wife is doing well.
 

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