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Idea - Serial Successful Entrepreneur shows the way


#1

Hi, I am thinking out loud here…

Pain Point Wantreprenuers keep consuming podcasts, reading blogs, tweets, blah blah etc. etc. which goes no where. They also start landing pages, do some customer development , stalk potential customers on forums etc. and these efforts go no where, at least for the time being. Which causes Wantreprenuer to go back to 9-5 job and think that this entpreprenuership is a pipe dream.

Possible Solution

An experienced, serial, successful entpreprenuer, starts a very small project from very beginning and sells to the audience, outside of his/her existing network. And shows how to do all the steps from start to finish. This newly created product may not sell at all but at least it will show a repeatable, actionaable process to the live audience as it happens on daily, weekly basis.

For a monthly MRR model, this could work for serial entreprenuer and it would defintely benefit wantreprenuers who really want to make it happen.

Does this make sense?


#2

Nice idea, I would love to read this!

For what it’s worth I would suggest myself and offer to document my experiences with my 4th product (which might be a total disaster, who knows) if anybody is interested.

I’ll try to tell the story up until now and you all can decide if there is anything worth following.

The Background
I’m a 29 years old software developer living and working in southern Germany. Before you ask: yes I like beer, no I don’t like “Oktoberfest”. Yes I’m not a native speaker so bear (or beer) with me and my English skills.

The first success!
While working a regular 9-5 I found myself with a great idea for a software to make cross browser testing of website better. As we all know in software you can “build it and they will come”, so I developed the first version of said software over the next six months. After I was done I setup a basic website, incorporated as a firm and boom no sales. So I started to read things about basic marketing, improved the product somewhat (I cannot stress enough how awful the first version was) and 2 months later I woke up to my very first “you earned money in your sleep” email. I kept this product alive first as a side project while working 9-5, then while traveling 3 months from Germany to Iran on a motorcycle with my wife and now it earns enough to support me and my wife to work full time on the next product. While I count this as a success it does not bring in enough money for the future (as the first kid is on the way). You can find this product here: http://bit.ly/1rpTv93

Let’s try again
At the end of last year I tried to launch the first SaaS product (taking screenshots of websites in different browsers). It did not go well partly because the product did not work so well and partly because of the huge competition. On the upside I got quite a few cease and desist letters from cooperation located in the US and I now have a lawyer.

Seeing opportunities?
The Cross Browser Software above has the ability to run virtualized Internet Explorer versions on modern windows versions. So for example you can have IE 7 running on Windows 8. This was intended for web developers to test side by side but many of my customers used this to “use this old web application which does not work in IE 10” or the like. I this week I created a tool hopefully better suited to this task: http://bit.ly/1oeaLc5 This has “softlaunched” today so it has only 1 customer yet.

Nerve Wracking Desktop Applications
Selling desktop applications is nerve wracking. Every month you start with $0 in revenue and this is killing me. So in December I setup a landing page for a bigger product idea I had. This is the product I could share the process for if anyone is interested. Up until now I made a landing page, bought a possible UI design / flow and I’m planning on starting development, maybe next week or so. The project will be a (hopefully) high price SAAS again aimed somewhat at people with websites. The landing page is here: http://bit.ly/1kjGFBo

Wow, I’m shocked at the word count of this. So now you need to answer, would you count me as “experienced, serial and successful”? Would anybody care to read what I write? Is there anything to learn here? (I would not count me as an expert in anything).

Let me know what you all think smile

P.S.: Can somebody explain the term MRR for me?


#3

Wait, don’t tons of people already do this via all the “podcasts, reading blogs, tweets, blah blah etc. etc” already?

You are replacing the problem with more of the same problem?


#4

MRR means monthly recurring revenue


#5

Not really. The problem is that the successful entreprenuer tells us what already happened in the past. This is the case with our XXXXCONFs , blog posts, podcasts, etc. AS opposed to seeing a brand new project being executed live in front of us. We can reconstruct on what patio11 did with bingo card creators by reading his old blog posts.

But I think there is value there if we see a start to finish execution at a very small scale.

I would love to pay for it if I could see it happening live in action on some regular interval.


#6

@brennandunn did that here (in 3 days):
http://planscope.io/blog/idea-to-customers-in-3-days/

Also worth catching up on is Pat Flynn’s “Niche site dual”:


#7

I started a physical product business last December to document my journey through my blog. I started with a £600 budget, now 6ish months later have my own branded Nail Polish with around £2.5k ($4k) in monthly revenues. I call the posts “how to start an commerce business from scratch”. It’s something I have never done, but wanted to give it a go. Feel free to check them out at www.liamwinder.com Its not a definitive guide to say the least, but I felt I wanted to write something that went in to a bit of detail, and was extremely honest. It’s not fully up to date and is a few months behind my current position so I can confirm what worked and didn’t work for me.

My background is, I started an ISP (internet service provider) in 2008 called RiPWiRE, bootstrapped it to about £1.2Million in annual revenue with no start-up capital or loans etc, sold it in early 2012, which can be seen as a success and/or a failure depending on how you look at it. When I closed and sold our customer base, I made the 6pm news on the BBC which was cool.

My main business now is www.linktagger.com which is still a start-up, but more established in a sense that we have paying users using our service, it’s an online mobile engagement platform that allows the management of NFC and QR. We’re currently rolling out a campaign for a client of smart posters in 15 UK cities which is exciting among other things such as smart products on shelves etc, and queue busting for cinemas and local authorities. We’re still finding our way really, we’re an on-line platform, but really need to be in front of a prospect face to face to make any headway.

I’ve also co-founded a way finding and rewards app called HelloCity! with our first local city on-board, we go live August 2014, we use 3D printed QR gateways around the city to interact with residents. It’s pretty cool and has a lot of interest from various councils and retailers.


#8

Some how your response is removed. I wish I could read it earlier.


#9

Whoops, don’t edit posts late at night :smile: I’ve reverted that edit and the text is back! Sorry!


#10

Pain Point Wantreprenuers keep consuming podcasts, reading blogs, tweets, blah blah etc. etc. which goes no where. They also start landing pages, do some customer development , stalk potential customers on forums etc. and these efforts go no where, at least for the time being. Which causes Wantreprenuer to go back to 9-5 job and think that this entpreprenuership is a pipe dream.

This is exactly where I am right now. I’ve been putting off making any sort of formal announcement - partly because I just don’t want to admit that I’m basically finished in this industry - but both SmallSpec and my podcast ChasingProduct are dead in the water. Done.

Possible Solution

An experienced, serial, successful entpreprenuer, starts a very small project from very beginning and sells to the audience, outside of his/her existing network. And shows how to do all the steps from start to finish. This newly created product may not sell at all but at least it will show a repeatable, actionable process to the live audience as it happens on daily, weekly basis.

This is a logical idea, but…I often hear that you can’t rely on the experience of anyone else as something you can reproduce. That, of course, begs the question “then why the hell are we reading anyone’s startup blog or buying anyone’s startup book” but that’s a topic for another day. People keep telling me there’s no such thing as a certain blueprint or process, which means I may as well blow my seed money playing blackjack. So, even if you could find a founder willing to do this - and as Brian Casel pointed out, Brennan Dunn has done something similar - once people start trying to follow the exact same steps and find themselves failing anyway, they’ll be right back at the pain point, starting all over.

Boy, aren’t I just all sunshine & rainbows today? That was pretty moody even for me. But there it is, that’s where my thinking currently is on this entire startup thing. People keep telling me it just isn’t possible to create a repeatable blueprint for product success. And it looks like they’re right.


#11

I wonder how many of us feel that way. There has to be a system / repeatable pattern and if we could discover that … then we are in business.


#12

Yes… and Yes… Looking forward to your updates.


#13

Unfortunately I don’t think there is a repeatable pattern outside very small niches.

Maybe a better idea than focusing on the steps to get a repeatable pattern would be to focus on the persons and experiences? Someone who “has done it once” has a much easier time repeating the success than it is for someone to get to the first one.

So how could we use that? Maybe some kind of advisor thing?


#14

I started to describe what I did for my latest product including the idea, creating a prototype and landingpage.

If anybody is interrested here you go: Blog. Any feedback welcome!