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Help needed: How to scale from 100 to 1,000 ?

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Jan 10, 2020
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Hello Entrepreneurs and Forum people,

about 1.5 years ago my wife and I started our first "real" business.
Our mission is to improve the lives of families with small children (being parents ourselves) and especially stay-at-home moms.

We currently offer an online subscription model with a monthly fee of 10 bucks and have around 100 paying customers/month. Growth rate ~6 new user/month.
Our main "marketing channels" are Podcast, Blog and Instagram and we also have an affiliate program.

The money we invest is mainly used to create more value for our customers and I'd say that most of our customers are very happy with our service. Even those that are cancelling the subscription most often tell us that they "will come back" (Not sure if true).

As you can imagine - the money we earn (after taxes, payment services, investing) does not allow us to work full time on our business (not even close). So we are still employed in our jobs and can only work on our business on the weekends or at night. Given the growth rate and the earnings per user it does not seem that this will change in the next years. From my current calculations we would need to have ~ 1000 customers/month so we could make this our full time job.

Since I would not say we have a "value problem" because of our happy paying customers I think the problem is that we can't communicate this value at scale with our current marketing channels.

So I am hoping that some of you can maybe get us some fresh input how we can scale our service - at best to the volume where we can work full time on our business. After this point we could put much much more work and effort into this.

Some questions that we are asking ourselves right now:

- Should we continue to invest in creating more value or put the money in marketing?
- Should we get some help from "marketing specialists"?
- Does it make sense to pay for advertising (Facebook, Google, ...) for our kind of business model and subscription fee?

Any help is highly appreciated also if you have any tips feel free to share your thoughts!

Thanks!
 

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aeden

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Hello Entrepreneurs and Forum people,

about 1.5 years ago my wife and I started our first "real" business.
Our mission is to improve the lives of families with small children (being parents ourselves) and especially stay-at-home moms.

We currently offer an online subscription model with a monthly fee of 10 bucks and have around 100 paying customers/month. Growth rate ~6 new user/month.
Our main "marketing channels" are Podcast, Blog and Instagram and we also have an affiliate program.
Congratulations on getting this far, that's awesome!

The money we invest is mainly used to create more value for our customers and I'd say that most of our customers are very happy with our service. Even those that are cancelling the subscription most often tell us that they "will come back" (Not sure if true).
Out of curiosity, why do they leave?

As you can imagine - the money we earn (after taxes, payment services, investing) does not allow us to work full time on our business (not even close). So we are still employed in our jobs and can only work on our business on the weekends or at night. Given the growth rate and the earnings per user it does not seem that this will change in the next years. From my current calculations we would need to have ~ 1000 customers/month so we could make this our full time job.
It took me 3 years before I was comfortable quitting my day job, and I wasn't the first person I hired with the business.

Since I would not say we have a "value problem" because of our happy paying customers I think the problem is that we can't communicate this value at scale with our current marketing channels.
Seems likely.

So I am hoping that some of you can maybe get us some fresh input how we can scale our service - at best to the volume where we can work full time on our business. After this point we could put much much more work and effort into this.
It's not clear to me what the service is, but can the service itself scale (and thus this comes down to sales and marketing)? I am going to assume that the service itself scales just fine and that you and your wife alone can operate it at 1000 customers.

Should we continue to invest in creating more value or put the money in marketing?
It sounds like you have value and could probably focus more on selling that value, thus marketing and sales may very well be where you should focus your energy for a bit.

Should we get some help from "marketing specialists"?
Probably not yet.

Does it make sense to pay for advertising (Facebook, Google, ...) for our kind of business model and subscription fee?
I don't know. It might be worth experimenting with, but it depends on whether your future customers make buying decisions based on advertising they see on these platforms.

Any help is highly appreciated also if you have any tips feel free to share your thoughts!
Find where your future customers hang out (ideally where they hang out online, especially given the current conditions of the world) and go to them. Talk to them where they are comfortable, don't jump straight to selling but be helpful and free with information. Give freely to the communities where your future customers are and build your audience and customer base that way. You are spending your time, and time is a precious thing, but the exchange now will hopefully pay off with a lot more free time in the near future.

Good luck!
 

Entre Eyes

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First of all Congrats.

Earnings and also the niche.

I would say yes invest in the content.

Could you go from a Silver to Gold Membership for example.

After that make your existing customers your brand ambassadors.

With incentives.

Create a campaign make it a big deal. To reach this many new members by this date.

Give them everything they need to easily promote, banners, scripts, etc.

And make the affiliate program generous. Help them also to become entrepreneurs. Give them the training that will make them great affiliates. You can just point them to tons of free training accessible online.

Also you can hire some Fiverr gigs to create short videos to address single pain points that your prospects will find appealing and lead them to your free trial etc.

Then the nuclear option...

You have a recurring income website/business on your hands...investors would be all over it if you can show them how to outsource most of the maintenance.
 
Last edited:

Andy Black

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Does it make sense to pay for advertising (Facebook, Google, ...) for our kind of business model and subscription fee?
A few weeks ago I started a progress thread about growing an email list with Google Ads.

Maybe you can create a simple squeeze page and some ads and see if you can get people to signup for regular tips and then take it from there?
 

JScott

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Since I would not say we have a "value problem" because of our happy paying customers I think the problem is that we can't communicate this value at scale with our current marketing channels.
If that's truly the case, than the likely solution is to use your existing (happy) customers to market for you. If you know your cost of acquisition through other channels (and are okay with it), you can apply that same amount of money to acquisition through your existing customers in the form of referral fee, commission, discounted/free services, additional benefits, etc.

That's where I'd start...
 

Andy Black

Figuring it out as I go along!
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Read Millionaire Fastlane
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May 20, 2014
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Ireland
If that's truly the case, than the likely solution is to use your existing (happy) customers to market for you. If you know your cost of acquisition through other channels (and are okay with it), you can apply that same amount of money to acquisition through your existing customers in the form of referral fee, commission, discounted/free services, additional benefits, etc.

That's where I'd start...
Dropbox style...
 

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