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Progress Thread I Don't Know What I'm Doing. But I'm Doing.

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by Waspy, May 18, 2017.

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  1. Waspy
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    Waspy Float like a butterfly Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hi Guys,

    Been offline for a couple months as I was simply finding this place too distracting. This is an incredible resource and one of the best corners of the internet. But it can pull you in, and I needed to get shit done, hence my few months away.

    In those couple of months things have moved quite a lot in my life, and frankly, I'm crazy excited. My energy is through the roof, just grinding away. So feel its time I started getting the journey documented.

    I'm going to keep the details of this thread fairly vague, as most of us do these days. Its about the journey, not the product. When I feel the product needs to be discussed to remain relevant I will start an insiders thread.

    What is it?
    It's a website. I would say it sits between peer to peer and a platform. It has providers (those who provide a tangible, in person service) and customers (those who need that service). It is a very new, but quickly growing market.

    Where did the idea come from?
    This is my second business. My first (other than all those businesses you start as a teen selling just about anything to make some cash) was about a year ago. I struggled. Partly because I was very naive, partly because my execution simply wasn't there (read I was shit and lazy). To cut a long story short, this business fills a need that became very apparent during my first business.

    Does it make CENTS?
    Control - I own the website. It isn't reliant (directly) on anyone else. I (will) rely on advertising, however this will be diverse not reliant on any one source. I technically have no control over the provider side of the market. But its my job to make it attractive for them to stay.
    Entry - Competing would require the full development of an imitation/alternative site/app. As barriers go, I would say this is fairly high. There is currently one competitor at the moment who I will talk about later.
    Need - This is somewhat scratching my own itch, which isn't ideal. However I have spoken to many people in the same situation as I was a year ago and strongly feel this is meeting a need. The competitor I discussed above is also fair validation. More on that later.
    Time - As with all startup businesses it is consuming my life right now. However once fully up and running, it will be independent of my time.
    Scale - As mentioned the market is growing globally very rapidly. While my maximum customer base here in the UK is somewhat limiting, the website has potential global reach.

    Competitors?
    I am very much of the opinion "focus on you, not your competitors", however, as far as I know I will be hitting the market with one established competitor. They have been on the scene about 12 months and have done very well. Their model is very different to mine but ultimately serves the same purpose. Their pricing structure is clumsy and ultimately they add very little value. In fact, as I sit here thinking about it. Their added value is next to nil. I can improve on it greatly. I am not one to underestimate my competitors though. They were first. I need to be the best.

    Progress so far
    This all started about 5 months ago. I had the idea and instantly started researching and building the website. I quickly discovered I did not have the skills (at all) to build a website as complex, intricate and functional as the one I needed. So about 1 month later I hit UpWork looking for a developer. It took me about a week to find the guy I wanted to use. I interviewed 80% of the applicants and he stood head and shoulder above the others as someone who genuinely cared about my brief. His price point was pretty much right in the middle of all the other offers I had. So far it has taken him about 4 months. We have regular Skype chats and I am pleased with progress. He actually messaged me last week to let me know he has finished the bulk of the work. We just need to finish up some copy and tidy up a few rough edges.

    In the few months while he was building the actual website my motivation has fluctuated somewhat. Ideally I would have had a lot more people lined up than I have. The logistics of getting people signed up to something which was not yet in existence proved a bigger hurdle for me than I expected. But thats in the past now. In the next few weeks the website will be ready and I will be able to full throttle the marketing.

    What's next
    Once the website is live, seriously ramping up the marking comes next. Social media, Adwords and content will be used for the customer side of the equation. A far more direct approach will be taken with the provider side. Calls, emails, letters, just about any means of contact. Bits and pieces will be outsourced but I am excited to learn the challenges of marketing a business like this.

    That was longer than intended! But thats 4 months of post in one, so hopefully future posts will be more easily digested!

    Thats all for now.
    Stay hungry out there.
     
  2. JustJoshing
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    JustJoshing Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane

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    Great stuff!

    What are you working on while your developer finishes the website?

    Also

    How have you changed in that department?
     
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  3. Imgal
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    Imgal Gold Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    This is one of the best put together introductions to a Progress Thread I've come across @Waspy. Kudos to you for doing such a great job!

    I know it can feel like you want the product to be completed before you can go ahead and market it, but I'd suggest that this doesn't have to be so (though not knowing all the details of your actual project I could be way off). People may not be able to access it right now, but you know the problem it can solve and if it can truly do that then you're going to have people lining up to want to buy... especially if you offer them a pre-launch discount offer. Basically it's following the Kickstarter model and we've all seen how keen people are to spend their money if they can see how a product is going to change their life.

    Have you done much in terms of outreach to media in your niche to line that up ready for your launch?

    Looking forward to see how this progresses!
     
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  4. Waspy
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    Waspy Float like a butterfly Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    So now that it approaches the end of the development stages, I am a lot more hands on. The developer (so far) has done an incredible job of building the functioning website, but its time for me to step in and make sure little (but actually very big) things like English are on point. On top of that I am building contact lists, writing bits of content, and answering a few questions that are still niggling; questions like, whats the price point for early adopters? How can I incorporate a feedback loop from those early users?

    I realised it didn't work. My first business was a "build it and they will come" tactic. Which is just dumb. It could have worked, if I had put the effort in. But I was expecting customer just to appear like some kind of success fairy. I won't be making the same mistakes.

    100%. I will be marketing it ASAP (which is like right now). I could have marketed it a lot sooner. I know I could. But if I am completely honest, it has evolved considerably since development first commenced. So had I started way back then I would have been marketing quite a different product. However, that's a poor excuse. Better late...

    This is something which I am in the process of researching and considering. I really want my early users to be the trailblazers. I am banking on them to help the site evolve. It is built to serve them. I would love for them to feel compelled to feedback what they want improving (or even just what they like). But to build such a base, I will need a compelling offer.

    Thanks for the comments guys. Just got a great buzz from those posts.
     
  5. amp0193
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    amp0193 Platinum Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I'm right there with you brother. Getting something new off the ground, and doing all the work, (and spending the money on development) with none of the results..... yet.

    This is the "desert of desertion", as @MJ DeMarco calls it.

    Just keep grinding... it'll be worth it. Trust your gut. The gut that made you jump in to this idea 5 months ago. The idea's validity hasn't changed, you just haven't yet gotten into the positive feedback loop of customers giving you money.

    You probably even subconsciously started this thread to get the encouragement from the forum that the Market is not yet giving you.

    Hang in there. It will soon enough.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2017
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  6. Waspy
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    Waspy Float like a butterfly Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Wow, a month since I posted this already. Jeeeez.

    Have been a little disappointed with my developer's progress over the last month. Started really putting the pressure on him as he seemed to be stalling, which was frankly terrifying me. Just got off a Skype call with him this second and he has updated me with progress. It has taken him a long time but imo he has over-delivered at this stage. The website is looking amazing and he has coded a backend which far surpasses my expectation. I have a lot of work to do between now and Monday (which is when we agreed a go-live for). Literally hermit mode for the next 5 days.

    I'm still really struggling with marketing. After a fair amount of research into competitors and the people who will be using the site, I have found my focus needs to be on on Social Media far more than paths such as AdWords. Nobody is searching on google for the services. Everything is being won/lost on SM atm (figures since it is a fairly new market, one of those things people don't realise they need it until they see how awesome it is from a friend posting it on FB). Currently I plan to only bid on my potential customer (producers) brand names, my competitors names, and my name. All of which are very cheap, but potential easy wins. The rest of my ad spend will be focused on SM.

    I have identified about 10 niches which I can individually target. I will start targeting one at a time. Of those 10, all can be targeted on FB, about 7 on Instagram, and 1 on Pinterest. Twitter currently doesn't seem worth the effort to be heard. I also plan to have a presence on YouTube, but that will likely come later. Obviously looking at those stats I will be starting on FB. I love how targeted I can be with FB ads.

    Still a little concerned over my competency with regards to the Social Media stuff. It may be outsourced yet.

    Hopefully there will be updates Monday!

    Current feels: Nerves. Excitement. Holy Shit.
     
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  7. Steve Beach
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    Steve Beach New Contributor

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    I am also in the middle of a start up, but i have been at it now for over a year. Financing the entire thing with savings for the first 9 months while still working a full time sales job. Finally got the product engineered, produced, sold, & installed and actually made some money. Since then, I have sold & installed 4 more jobs and now starting to develop a pipeline. I will continue to push forward with this strategy until I become overwhelmed, at which point, I will quit my job and pursue full time. Working on another product now within the same industry. Not new, just better than what is out there currently. Long term plan is to offer products and training to a nation wide dealer network of installers. All I can say is that it has been very tough and still is most days. I am just not willing to quit. Just determining the next logical step, and then having the courage to take that step is the strategy that has been working for me.

    Best of luck to you and keep grinding, even if you don't know where or how to do it.

    Steve