“I was a smoker for 20 years, then one day I realized enough is enough, and through sheer will power and commitment, I quit smoking overnight” — Yeah right!
This is a classic example of selective-facts story telling. Unfortunately, that is what we get to hear today in the entrepreneurship space, the overnight successes.
The growth hack that solved all the customer problems for that startup; that seed funding from an Angel Investor; that admission to Y-Combinator. We start thinking, we need that lucky break too.
And the poor misinformed entrepreneur goes on the path to get that lucky break. Whereas, he/she should be working on building the company and providing value to customers.
This cruel way of story telling that only highlights the lowest lows and the highest highs should be made illegal.
What about the frustrations, the self-doubt, the vicious cycles of debates that happens constantly in the entrepreneurs head. Where are those parts of the story?
We are led to believe that those successful entrepreneurs are super humans, gifted with the perfect combination of skills, opportunities and intelligence – Bull Shoot
Enough is enough: I’ll Give You As It Is – My Promise
As you will follow this blog, I will be authentic and vulnerable with you.
- I will tell you that I feel frustrated with myself when I have an unproductive day.
- I will tell you that I get anxious every time, till this day, when I sit to record a new video lesson (even after recording nearly 100 videos.)
- I will tell you that I feel vulnerable thinking what if I run out of money.
- I will tell you that my fears sometimes influence me to make chicken decisions.
- I will tell you that sometimes I feel overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I have to do to the point of paralysis.
- And I will tell you that I go in vicious cycles in my head about decisions in my business.
However, I will also tell you:
- How that customer inquiry sparks a light of faith in my heart.
- That beautiful customer appreciation email made my day.
- That new customer that registered, made me believe my efforts are not in vain.
- The growing traffic numbers and the video views tell me that I am doing something right.
In this process, I will share with you everything
In this process, I will share with you everything I am learning to overcome my fear, build self-belief and the tactics I am employing to reach 1000 paying customers for iLoveCoding.
I have realized that when I commit to something and work single mindedly, all the inner chatter becomes less noisy and over time those discouraging thoughts have little influence over my decisions.
That is why I have total faith that this journey is going to teach me a lot, and in the process I will become a more refined version of me.
So Why Blog About it?
My first inspiration is Andrew Warner. Andrew interviews entrepreneurs on his site and shares the interview recording with his audience.
What attracts me toward Andrew is that he is 1000% authentic. I can hear it in his voice, in his questions and in his reactions. He doesn’t try to pretend to be someone he is not. In fact, I have noticed that when he does pretend, he would come out and admit it. Even more he would expand on his insecurities.
Who does that?
This guy is genetically incapable to fake it, and that is why I have high level of trust in Andrew.
I have sensed similar pureness of heart in Pat Flynn’s podcast, which I very recently started to listen.
I admire both Pat and Andrew’s authenticity, and I think that is one of the reasons for their success.
Humans are geniuses
I was the exact opposite of them. I would put on a fake persona, and communicate through that filter.
I now believe that humans are geniuses at picking up inauthentic people. Inauthentic people are insecure, and they repel their fellow humans.
Blogging is my way to persistently communicate with you, and stay true to my journey. As I put my blog in writing, I will get a chance to reflect on my journey and progress every week.
If I am not reporting much progress for a few weeks, I’ll know my efforts need calibration.
So Why 1000 Customers Only?
Isn’t market domination the name of the game?
No, the name of the game is the name you give it. I am not here to live somebody else’s expectations. I am not here to prove myself based on somebody else’s scale. My journey has the purpose I give it.
I chose 1000 customers because:
- Given my progress rate, 1000 is a big goal
- I know I will have to step it up to achieve it
- It feels attainable to me
It just takes imagination to dream up a goal. It takes blood sweat and tears to realize that dream.
I could have set my goals high on 10,000 or 100,000 customer, but those numbers are so huge that I loose the sense of reality with them.
This doesn’t mean I will not aim for 10,000. I will, once I achieve the milestone of 1000 customers.
It takes different skills to ride a bicycle on local streets. It takes different set of skills to ride a motor bike on a highway.
These skills must be acquired in order.
So 1000 before 10,000 right
Starting Point: Our Stats Right Now
- We launched at a pricing point of $5/month. At that rate we were getting 3-5 customers a day.
- Since we have raised our pricing to $9/month with a Free Trial. Now we get 0-2 customers a day.
- Currently we have 88 Paying Customers
- We have been in business since Oct 19th, 2014 – 5 Months
- Revenue is around $600/month
What’s in it for you?
We humans look for shortcuts, we are distracted by the new shiny object. We pursue goals sporadically with little success, which leads to our dissatisfaction.
This blog will be a transparent window into a life of a single-founder building an education startup in a competitive market.
There are two types of people in this world. One learn from their mistakes, others learn from somebody else’s mistakes
– My Dad
If you are an entrepreneur, especially a single founder, this is your opportunity to learn from my mistakes and my successes.
I will write about:
- Growth Hack that got us from 20 visitors a day to 150 visitors a day
- Which Tools We use to run our business, and which sexy tools we stopped using
- How we got our first few customers
- How we are building relationship and authority with our customers
and much more
Follow Our Journey
I invite you to follow our journey. I plan to blog once a week on this topic.
When you subscribe to the email list below, I’ll notify you every time a new blog is posted.
If you have any questions, suggestions or ideas, let me know via Twitter. And please let me know what you thought about this blog in the comments below.
Thanks for reading, talk to you in the comments.
Author: Aziz Ali