For those who know me, you’ll know that I’m quite vocal. I tweet a lot, and I express my opinions without a lot putting a lot of thought into it. First draft communication for the win. I’m also extremely impatient and expect things to happen quickly.
Yesterday I tweeted this:
It’s amazing how much time, money, and energy you spend on something to only launch into a world of crickets.
— Nick Haskins (@nphaskins) November 15, 2014
I guess my tweet was inspiring, so this post came up in my feed this morning. It’s cool, it’s probably the beard. It’s hella inspiring. I realize the post is “generalized,” but I’d like to talk about a few things, mainly building a wider audience. But first, a little insight into how we’re doing and what we’re up to.
Since I launched the free Aesop Story Engine plugin in February, we’ve made over 22K dollars in gross revenue in nine months. This, all based on a “freemium” business model in an already over-crowded space like WordPress. The themes that we sell command the highest prices of anyone in the industry, while having under five options each. I have three amazing people on my team, and we’re now building a hosted solution just for writers. Not too shabby for a business built on something that’s free eh? And we surely just didn’t “wait for the money to roll in.”
If you saw how much work went into marketing, ads, social connections, content, then you’d start to see that, hey, we’re actually working pretty damn hard. Could we be working harder? Absolutely. We’re measuring habits, and we’re studying behaviors and what motivates users to do things. We’re growing, and making it. All from nothing.
And it didn’t just happen magically, or by luck. I’ve been an entrepreneur for for the better part of my life. I’ve created, and destroyed business’, and have learned quite a few lessons in the process. One thing I’ve learned, is that if you feel you need coaching you shouldn’t be in business. You either have it, or you don’t. There is no “in-between.” You can’t teach someone how to be an artist.
Now, back to building the right audience. I’ve come to realize that we’re barking up the wrong tree. For the past nine months we’ve been targeting developers in the WordPress space. This is great, but our product is for storytellers. And now, we’re moving past that. The theme price change didn’t happen until later in the game, so we built an audience in a specific stadium. We knowingly did this too. It built our “starter” audience. A stepping stone, and a necessary one at that. But it’s time to grow up now, and it’s time to reach higher, and we’re taking our starter audience with us. After all they made the product what it is today.
If you’re just starting out, I can’t stress how important it is to not build your business on sandy soil. In the end, the wrong audience is still better than no audience. Follow your gut, and listen to your heart. Ignore what others are doing, put your blinders on, and just go for it.