Table of Contents
- Tell us about your product and what inspired you to start it?
- How long did it take you to acquire your first 50 customers, and what was your growth strategy?
- Which technology stack are you using and what challenges and limitations does it pose?
- What are some of the most essential tools that you use for your business?
- What have been some of the biggest insights you've gained since starting your entrepreneurial journey?
- Your recommended books/podcasts/newsletters etc.:
Better Sheets was borne from two ongoing issues I saw. One was internally and one was external. The internal issue was that I wanted to launch "something", anything. I had a history of creating, making stuff online, and releasing or "launching". And I hadn't launched anything in a while. I was working on a SaaS that was taking longer than expected to create with a partner. In one day I decided I'm going to launch something tomorrow.
The external issue was that I saw an article by TNW which stated that "Transpose()" was the least useful google sheets function. I died laughing at this because I used it so often. I loved it. I knew 10 uses of it off the top of my head. And then at that moment I realized that most Google Sheets content was written from a point of view of one little thing, or one issue, and there really wasn't an inspirational or aspirational creative outlet.
Meaning that I couldn't see a group of really cool well done sheets. I had to learn this stuff myself piece by piece over 5 years. What if I could share really cool things I learned and assimilated into my work that did well for my coworkers and the sheets I made. I also happened to have literally become the "google sheets guy" at my office. I learned google script and turned that into a great position, with great pay and lots of responsibility outside the normal dynamic of a workplace. I didn't climb any particular career ladder, but rather made my own path, but by getting really good at Google Sheets, of all things.
I had 13 sales in the first month. It wasn't until my product was featured on Appsumo that it got going. It is called the AppSumo Marketplace now. A way for makers to self submit their own products to AppSumo. I think I got something like 1,000 new customers with in a few months. The first 100 came within a week or two of being featured on AppSumo.
I continued to give content to AppSumo, with a blog. Along with doing as much as I could to talk to the Sumoling community. Of which I happened to be one too. I bought an LTD from Appsumo in 2015 (brain.fm) and then JustReachOut (I think 2016). After those purchases, I was on their email list for years.
When I launched I used Loom to record videos and created a Loom Folder. I used Carrd for a landing page, and Gumroad for a sales page. That was it. 2 Years later (in April 2022) I relaunched the website using Ruby on Rails. I created my own LMS in RoR, wrapping a user experience around Loom embeds. It's working well now. I have lots of control but the problem is.. I have lots of control :)
Beyond sheets, Loom has been an essential tool. It's allowed me to create original videos. I think it's amazing and love it. Recently to make better quality videos I've been using Descript to edit my videos. I think this type of tool is essential as well for expertise style video makers who want to edit down videos swiftly with out having to take up video editing as a hobby.
What have been some of the biggest insights you've gained since starting your entrepreneurial journey?
For the past 15 years I've been a video maker. You might not be able to tell from the "quality" or "production value" of my current videos. But that's what I think makes this entrepreneurial journey so amazing. I don't have to be even in the top 10% of video editors, video producers, and can build a career in video.
Just getting good enough at many different things , will set entrepreneurs up for success. I'm currently going hardcore 30 days at a time into different aspects of marketing and product. 30 days on Twitter (almost all day every day), 30 days on FB Ads, 30 days on YouTube, etc. Each month a different aspect of my existing business. It's a bit of a twist on the "12 startups in 12 months" concept.
1 insight can make you.
1 good week, could get your code base from a mess to launched.
1 good month, could change your marketing from zero to something.
1 good year, could change your life.
Launch by Jeff Walker changed my business. It has a very simple email framework to either create a new business with, or in my case I added a workshop to my revenue streams. It got me a lot closer to my customers. Allowed me to breakthrough and directly help people deeply.
Along with Launch, I think $100M Offers helps change your own personal direction in business. If you're building a small service business, or agency, or even SaaS, and want to add new revenue streams, going higher offer, bigger offer, is the way to test out theories quickly. go hard for 30 days one one thing, and figure it out.
These two books can be bought on kindle for $2.99 total, and added $1,000 to my revenue in the month after I read them.