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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Thanks Lee! Date: 1st of July, 2021 Model: Gallardo (for a start)

Lately I’m trying to spend more time looking at my bigger picture / vision for the business, and whenever I do that I feel like updating this thread.

I'm still doing the daily Skype calls and setting daily tasks focused on increasing revenue. It's going well and my work ethic has increased a lot. Talking to people about this who are not as focused on success is becoming harder though.. I just try not to talk about it too much whenever I'm with old friends or family or whatever.

The revenue hasn’t been growing as much lately though, but this might be due to looking at the short term (monthly) stats. When comparing 2017 with 2016 I have more than doubled revenue, which is pretty good. My last quarter (2017-4) has been my best one ever in terms of revenue. But so far, the start of 2018 isn’t too exciting though.. the start of 2017 was better.

During a session of thinking about my numbers and reasoning backwards to what I have to do, I made a very simple set of KPI’s which I need to increase in order to grow my revenue:

More revenue: more sales OR increase prices
More sales: more proposals OR increase close rate
More proposals: more traffic OR increase conversion rate
More traffic: Organic, PPC, etc.

My close rate is around 35%, conversion rate around 4%. Assuming they stay the same, right now I’m simply working on increasing traffic. I’ve got some methods, using Facebook ads for retargeting and of course good old Adwords and working on setting up some partnerships with influencers. Setting up a YouTube channel with tutorials, etc.

I’ve also came up with some ideas that are very related to the service I’m offering, but could possible tap into a bigger market (niche is good but I feel like I’ve niched down too much) and allow for a recurring revenue model. I hope I don’t regret spending time on this later since it kind of deludes focus on the core business a bit.. but it’s related enough for me to rationalize it being a good investment of my time (and I'm learning from it).
 

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As a 27 year old entrepreneur who just bought his first lambo 4 weeks ago, I'm totally rooting for you!

Congrats on the continual grind sir
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Niice.. congrats on the milestone! And thanks for the motivation.

How does it feel to drive? ;)
 

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You are totally correct not using the advice of people who are not successful. Friends and family are often either jealous or overly protective. Just think if baby birds never took the first step. They would never learn to fly. When I did my first development everyone told not to it is......too risky......too dangerous.........etc. I made almost 7 figures on that gamble. Was it risky? Yes but I shared the risk with another investor (and also a large part of the profit. ) Work very hard , take any risk with a high upside that you can afford to lose. Don't waste any time on low profit high time work. You will fail some or you are not trying hard enough. Success is a simple matter of winning more than you lose. It is ok to lose some just not everything. Loss also fosters learning so even loss is beneficial. Good Luck Lee
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Thank you Lee for taking the time to share your little nuggets of wisdom and advice! I really appreciate that and will never take it for granted. I hope some day I'll be able to help others in the same way.

I feel like I'm not taking enough (calculated) risk at the moment.. and hanging a little bit in the infamous comfort zone.. not exploring enough. It's good to be aware of I guess. Tomorrow I'll dedicate most of my day on planning/vision which I'm doing weekly now (since a few weeks) and I'll think this through. Thanks again.
 

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One of the biggest challenges in business is to balance between short term and long term objectives. As a developer all of mine is long term. It has been very difficult to adapt to long periods without cash flow then periods of amazing income. Most Americans think about today, tomorrow , next week and maybe next month. Most Japanese think next month, next year next 5 years and next 10 years. Why do you think a very small island in the Pacific with no resources dominates many world markets in manufactured goods. Conversly, many countries rich in resources are on the edge of bankruptcy. Long range planning is where the big dollars are there to be recovered. There is a rule I teach all the new small business owners I deal with;
Cash flow is like air, without it you will die in minutes.
Sales are like water . Without them you will die in days.
Profit is like food. Without it you will die in months depending on how much fat you have stored.
Growth is like Christmas. It is the gift from accomplishing the other goals.
Often small business owners mix up these priorities and die without ever tasting food.
If you only focus on cash flow you will never drink. If you only focus on cash flow and sales you will never eat (and never see Christmas)If you only focus on profit, you may never live to spend it. You must balance all three. Breathe first, drink next then go find something to eat. Lee
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
That's a great analogy. I'm currently making a profit, but I actually only focus on growing revenue right now, then later I can look at cutting expenses and increasing profit as well.

I feel like growing revenue is like bulking, you just eat a lot to increase weight and muscle without being too concerned about body fat. Then increasing profit is like cutting, cutting the fat (costs) to increase profit and get to the end goal.
 

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There is a great joke that is also a very important business lesson. An aggie had a project in his business class to start a small business venture.He saw a guy selling watermelons on the side of the road and came up with his idea. He started with $ 1000 and drove to the rio grande valley to buy a truckload of cantaloupes. He paid .25 each and kept careful records of the whole venture. When he got back to College Station he put a sign out on the side of the road: Cantaloupes 4 for $1.00. He sold out in 2 hours. The next day he went to his business professor and explained the venture and also that he now only had $912 left. The professor said " Let me study this."Two days later the excited professor called and said "come to my office quickly" Upon arrival the professor proudly announced " I have resolved your problem. YOU NEED TO DO MORE VOLUME"
Sales without profit is nothing but wasted work. It is the only reason you are in business. He would have been better off to buy and sell only 100 cantaloupes and earn 1.00 each. Growth without profit to support it is a formula for lots of problems down the road. Investors and bankers look at profit more than sales. That is where the success lies.I have seen so many small business ventures saying we are not making money at 10K per month but if we double sales, we will be profitable. Never sacrifice profit for growth except in very special cases. Lee
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Yeah that's a good point, very true.

The costs for me that scale up directly with the sales are at about ~20% of my sales, so I don't have to be concerned about this. So for me by definition more sales = more profit.

It's more about not being too concerned about saving money by not buying useful tools that save time and make things more efficient or trying to save money by spending less on hiring good developers to improve the systems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Thanks Neo!

Guess what, I'm still alive:

This summer, business wasn't going too well. I had built up a decent buffer to be able to get through it, but I was really doubting whether I should keep going with this business. Also because all successful people I study have had many early businesses fail before they make something work. This business I'm running is only my second business if you count my first freelancing activities as a business..

But then all of a sudden, September happened and it was my best month ever, 16.5k revenue. Also my first 5 figure month ever, which is a nice milestone. It felt like a sign of the universe that I should not give up on this thing, so I just kept going.

Most of my activities since last spring have been planning and improving the business to simply provide the best service in the world for my small niche. September gave me an extra motivational boost to really get this happening.

Since June I hired two extra freelance developers to help me with this. I'm also doing a lot of developing myself. I kind of hired the developers as advisors almost rather than employees. I explained them my big vision, they gave me their recommendations on what global frameworks and things to use, they set it all up and taught me how to expand it, and I've been doing a lot of work expanding it. Simply to save costs, because (good) developers are quite expensive. Every time I get stuck with something, I contact them and hire them for a couple hours to explain things to me or even let them write some of the code so I can see how it's supposed to be done. It works quite well and prevents me from having to look for investors. I also feel like they really like what I'm doing and sympathise with me.

More personal (but affecting business), I broke up with my GF last March after being together for 3 years. Has been quite though emotionally, but I think it makes me stronger. It did distract me from work for a while but it's getting better. After a couple months I tried to start dating again. Tried online dating, sucks imo compared to 4 years ago. Bars at night are not really an option for my lifestyle either (I try to make waking up at 5am a habit). So what I'm doing now is way out of my comfort zone, but is therefore also good for developing my social skills: Just walking through the busy parts of my city and approach random attractive girls I see, then just try to build a connection/attraction and date them. I've had some success with that so I guess I'm gonna stick with this, stay single for a bit and date a bunch of random girls. It builds my mental toughness too. Not dating at all would save a lot of time and energy, but is not an option for me, I've tried it and it just makes me go crazy when I don't have any feminine energy in my life.

I've had 3 5-figure months so far, January has been the best ever, 19k USD. Also, I always keep track of revenue number over the past 365 days, and last week this number crossed the 100k mark which is a huge milestone. I'm planning to launch the new web application (that should make my service the "best service in the world") at the end of Q1 with the minimum required features. Then slowly ramp up marketing over the rest of 2019 and adding the extra features I still have planned for post-launch.

I feel really good about this right now. Hope to get my momentum going like this and NOT GIVE UP.
 

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That reminds me of a funny story. When I was a freshman in college my roommate got a book on how to pick up girls. I laughed at him but one Saturday borrowed it for something to read. I read the short book that morning and decided to go out and pick up a beautiful woman. I went to the bookstore and started talking to the hottest girl in there. I got her to go have coffee with me and said " do you mind if I stop by my Dorm room and drop off my books?" She said sure so I walked in with a beautiful girl about 45 minutes after I left. I think I actually created an urban legend with that one. Remember everything you want is on the other side of fear. Women included. Forget the bars. Hit the grocery store, starbucks etc. Show no fear and you will be shocked at the kind of women you will meet. Many beautiful women sit at home because guys are too scared to talk to them. Most don't even think they are beautiful. Lee
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Hahah Lee that's awesome ;)

I've been doing this stuff a lot more, while traveling in Asia, talked to tons of girls on the beach and cafe's during the day while just doing my own stuff. It's amazing what kind of adventures you can generate by just being a bit more social, especially in this age of smartphones.

Everything you want is on the other side of fear.
Love this 👍

So quick update. We're into Q2 for 3 weeks already. I'm a bit behind on completing my Q1 goal, dedicated April to catch up with that while still being able to make the Q2 plans happen.

Q1 has been quite ok in terms of revenue, January was my best month ever in this business, almost hit the 20k USD mark. Also hit the 100k/year mark which shows I'm making some good consistent progress as well. At 105k revenue now over the past 365 days.

Like I said, I'm traveling in Asia now, periods solo and periods meeting other business owners which is both great. I get work done every single day. Although these tropical places / beaches are not the most effective environment to really get **** done, I think it's a good decision because I feel like I need to learn what the world has to offer, how things work in different cultures, just to get a bigger perspective of things, and eventually be able to choose the right place for me to live and drive around in a Lambo :)
 

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Next time you are at the beach just walk up o the hottest girl on the beach and say Hi . If you strike out with her go to another place on the beach (Out of sight from the first girl) and go talk to another. I can almost guarantee that it will not take 3 attempts to land one. Lee
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Hahah yep @Lee it's true ;) I ditched online dating and just doing it like that now.

We're about to hit Q3. I've had a massive wave of motivation for building the business, which I wanted to capitalize on so I pretty much cut out everything and just focused on: consistent sleep, gym 6x / week, and work. No new girls, (almost) no dates, very little social life. And I've got a lot done! I haven't been doing it all myself, hired 5 developers during this project so far (all parttime). I would feel bad if I'd be doing all the work myself, I think I found a nice balance because I don't want to completely remove myself from writing the software because:
- It's fulfilling to be able to summon an "army of robots" in the cloud
- I still have leverage because I make computers work for me
- Keep my brain occupied with complicated stuff which keeps me sharp

About to launch a new version of my app, which is a bit scary, but that makes it feel like I'm on the right track. I'm in one of those cliche entrepreneurs situations, launching this thing with the bare minimum features I want to include is like throwing myself off a cliff, no way back, and on my way down, while it's live, I'll have to add the rest of the important features and build the proverbial airplane.

Revenue hasn't been growing a lot, I'm at 106.5k yearly now, but I honestly haven't been doing anything to grow it so I can't complain. All I've done is work on this new app. Plan is to get this thing live and continue the growth from there :)

Once my motivation for business dies down a bit (which it will, just the nature of things). I will have my discipline take over and keep working, although I don't want to keep neglecting social life for too long.
 

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Thanks for the update. Sometimes we have to slow down , build infrastructure then grow again. I am glad to hear the advice on meeting girls helped. It will work for any young man or woman. It is the same as business. Sometimes putting fear aside is the formula for great success. The great thing about cliff jumping is that you better learn how to fly or hit the ground trying. It is the strongest motivator in the world. If you do hit just do the Wylie Coyote move . Dust off and try again. Lee
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 · (Edited)
Thanks for your input Lee ;)

Today's the last Sunday of 2019Q3 so time for an update:

Just spent some time planning Q4, exciting days.

Revenue is not good though.. dropped below the magic 100k/year mark down to around 94k.. Reason for this is simple: I spent pretty much all my time and energy over the past year on building a new platform that’s not live yet, so that work has zero impact on growth (so far)

I’ve been delaying the deadline many times.. which is bad. 3 months ago I said I was about to launch.. but now however, I expect with 99% confidence we’ll be able to deploy this thing in October.

Biggest reason for the delay is slower work than anticipated, and unforeseen tasks that pop up after diving into the rabbit hole of proper web application practices. It’s going to be so much better though than what’s running now, it’s ridiculous. This will be such a solid foundation to build/expand upon, and maintaining this thing will be a breeze compared to the current Frankenstein situation.

Also, I spent some significant time this Summer off the business. I’m not planning to do this often, but I felt I had to work a bit on my social skills like I mentioned last update. Did some networking, traveling, dating, had a blast. And was so energized to get back to the grind afterwards. I don’t regret it. I had an opportunity to get to know some amazing contacts. If I wouldn’t have done this, I’m quite certain there would be this nagging feeling of "what if", and now I know.

Finally, I’m doing THEMFCEO’s #75HARD challenge. If you don’t know, TheMFCEO is a business podcast (highly recommend it). This program is 75 days of working on your grit, discipline, and mental toughness. I’m at day 21 as of writing this. Feels good, it has a positive influence on my productivity already.
 

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I used to feel guilty about vacation but discovered that every time I went , I came back and made more money. Sometimes play time is exactly what the mind needs to resolve things and discover better ways to do things. When you are in the middle of the SH%#, it is hard to step out and gain perspective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Hahah yeah vacation is always a dichotomy, on the one hand you have the Bill Gates' of the world who don't believe in vacation and work their entire 20's, on the other hand it's a way to "sharpen the saw" and work more efficiently afterwards.

It's the end of the year, so a quick update on the business progress:

Revenue hasn’t changed much over the past quarter. Which is not surprising. I was deliberately working on improving the service rather than promoting it. I finally launched the new web app around the end of November though, which was a huge milestone. While I did so, I screwed up the SEO slightly which caused a drop in sales, but I found the issue and things are recovering Valuable lesson learned there.

The end of the year I’ve spent a lot of time fixing some teething problems with the new app. Talking to users, getting feedback, implementing small new features, and planning the next year.

2020 will be all about promoting/marketing/sales, talking to my users and gathering / implementing feedback. I have tons of new ideas to work on and it’s really exciting to just sit down every day and get to work.

My natural tendency is just to constantly improve the service by both coding myself and coming up with higher level ideas which I then delegate to other developers. That’s the most fun for me and probably my comfort zone too.

So because of that tendency I have to be the "engineer", I’m going to force myself to spend time on marketing and sales every single day, 7 days a week. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but I just need to do one thing every single day that contributes to this side of the business because I don’t naturally do that. Maybe I’ll hire someone to do this at a later stage, but for now I think it’s a good way to go out of my comfort zone and be a bit more "plugged in" by talking to people in the industry.

Another thing I really need to spend more time on is very accurate tracking of important metrics, which will help me figure out how much effort I need to put into the actual marketing and sales, and be able to just look at it like a math equation.

I like the fact that I’m actually more excited about growing the business and becoming the best in my industry, rather than extracting a huge profit out of it. It gives a lot of clarity.

I wish you all an amazing launch of the new year!

Cheers.
 

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Never lose sight of the primary objective in business. PROFIT. Customer service is great but does not put food on the table. You obviously prefer development over sales. (Me too) However without sales the business will die. There are only two real states in Business: Growing or Dying. There is really no status quo. If you are just holding your ground , don't be surprised when some unknown competitor comes blowing by. Business is not static with a few exceptions. (Small mom and pop 1 or 2 person operations like car repair, convenience store, etc. There are physical limitations to growth. However, it is difficult to reach a seven figure income without employees. If a salesperson will make more than they cost you and your basis is just development costs already paid then what are you waiting for? Anytime I can add an employee that increases profit without a lot of tradeoff it is a no brainer. Go out and make sales. Stop making excuses. It is just like girls on the beach. Scary at first but great results when you do it. I want you to double your sales in the next 3 months. No Excuses. Just go do it. Lee
 
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