How am I feeling now?
Sometimes, when you're trying new initiatives and then they're over, you feel like you're going back to ground zero figuring out what's next.
This is exactly how I'm feeling.
I've been running courses for 4 months. Now that they're over, I am building the next thing.
I'd say this is a common feeling when you're new in a field and still learning the ropes, so I'm totally okay with it. At the same time, I'm aware that I need to stop the cycle of building → done → building → done.
What I mean is I shouldn't look at each creation as an independent product that only works for that short period. I need these creations to be part of the long-term plan. They should be more like software, getting more powerful over time.
The value it creates must be sustainable and fit into a system. Otherwise, I'm forever just a mice running on an exercise wheel.
But that's exactly what I'm going to put my learnings into use going forward!
How is my personal life?
I'm very grateful my personal side of things is so far positive and stable. This allows me to have an utter focus on my work.
Though, there is one thing that comes up to my mind lately, which is the unpredictable costs that show up as you get older.
When I was younger, costs are easy to foresee. They were usually living, food & drinks, grocery, travel, gadgets etc. I could easily allocate money from my salary.
Now, as 31 years old with a family & baby, additional costs are piling up beyond the obvious ones like baby food and care.
What are they? Friends are having babies too, we have to buy gifts. Baby needs to sleep so we have to drive around, extra gasoline cost. Family dinner is upgraded, we have to bring nice wine.
So far it is still manageable, but it is the thought of unpredictable costs along with a new entrepreneurial journey that is reasonably scary.
Do you feel the same?
August 2021 Income Report
Net Profit: $1,149
Revenue $1,666 - Expenses $517 = $1,149
I started to extract numbers directly from Stripe, Outseta, Gumroad etc. instead of calculating it myself. It's more accurate plus it saves me time.
- #30DaysInPublic Course: $0
- Pilot Cohort-based Course: $555
- Community: $267.5
- Affiliate: $9.5
- Use Twitter Meaningfully: $834
This month, I created a new curriculum and ran it as a cohort-based course with 8 live sessions. It had a 100% attendance rate and since everyone was moving at the same pace, the learning outcome was also much stronger.
I also launched my 1st info product, Use Twitter Meaningfully, and it was quite a success! Not only it could be an ongoing offering, but I also helped maintain the revenue level while I was experiencing a new course design. I’m sharing more below.
- Stripe: $12.06, Outseta = $33.14
- Webflow: $40 (2 domains), Hypefury: $19, ConvertKit: $79, Zoom: $14.99, Circle: $79, Descript: $15, Gmail $6, Notion $5, Xero $10
- Moderator: $100
- One-off: $100 (Steph Smith's Doing Content Right), $9 domain showingupright.com
I happily discontinued a few services from next month onward: Circle (explain more below), Zoom, Notion as I am going to take a break from running courses.
My ConvertKit bill went from $29 to $79 because I'm now at 1,000+ subscribers and I upgraded my plan in order to try out Sparkloop (included in the Pro plan). I want to see if the referral system can help drive more interest in my free products.
I also got a bit of help running the community engagement side of things. Most people think a community can be self-sustained where members will chat and ask questions freely, but this only happens in very few communities. Someone needs to actively start conversations and invite people in to chip in.
Currently, my expenses are sitting at 30.5% of revenue. I don't want to go above this percentage and that means I have to increase my revenue with my current resources!
What important things happened
Launched my 1st info product
Like most Internet products, sales for Use Twitter Meaningfully went up during launch and then fell nearly flat. It's common.
What is important after the launch is how to embed the offering inside the marketing funnel.
Clearly, I haven't gotten to that stage yet!
Here are my biggest learnings from the launch:
- Mini products like this rarely get a word-of-mouth effect. They're more revenue-generating products relying on existing credibility and channels. For someone starting out, I don't think they should work on mini products. A big product (book, course, big guide) that is so value-packed and priced right can generate more buzz and credibility. Of course, mini products are great for testing the demand
- Pricing is hard. I started with $9 and increased $3 for every 20 copies. And then eventually I set it at $18 going forward. I think this is a good strategy giving some sense of urgency during the launch period
- Copywriting is everything. If I want to sell beyond using my existing credibility, the copywriting needs to be top-notch and convincing
My 1st live teaching experience
Had an absolutely great time with this small group of 6. It was my 1st time running a cohort-based course live style where I taught live on Monday and then we discussed more live on Thursday.
What I learned about courses:
- Cohort-based simply means there is a start date and end date with the group. The course design can vary based on the objective. There are topics that are better suited as self-paced where students take their time to learn and there are topics that are better suited as cohort-based where students learn and work together to improve. This all comes down to the course creator's experience to design for impact.
- But - cohort-based courses don’t mean live teaching! There is significant value if the content can be delivered async and the live components are mainly on discussion and connections.
I'm happy about the outcome of this course:
The ROI of my time
In the last 10 months, I've been relying on writing fresh tweets and emails/newsletters as I go. In June 2021, I set out to improve my nurturing funnel and failed. But this time around, I finally got started building a 12-week best content series for anyone coming in through my free products.
Here are the reasons:
- I simply cannot scale my work if I'm still writing content at the very moment
- The best content usually doesn't come from writing during that week. It is what people find the most valuable and there is data to support it (e.g. open rate, views). By making it evergreen in a nurturing funnel, I make sure everyone gets the best from me
I also scaled back from my personal newsletter, Sunday Beam, (again) because I realized it is so much better if I only send something "when I have something important to say".
People say you have to send frequently to remind people you exist. I think I'm past that phase. You know I'm here, and you want the best from me. After all, if you don’t send a new email, they won’t remember to unsubscribe right? 😂
Invest in meaningful work
There is a lot of urge to work on a lot of things and want to create an empire offering values at different levels to capture everyone. But ... I realized quantity or wide scope of work likely won’t get me to my next stage.
When I see Alberto, Rob, and Dylan sharing my long-form article, I know that quality > quantity.
I should work on fewer things and make them super duper good. The value should be ridiculous compare to the price point, and this is how I can boost my voice, my credibility, and my influence on the Internet.
Moved community from Circle to Slack
This has been a question floating in my head for months now. I finally trusted my gut and moved our community. Why?
- I dug into who my members/audience are and they are mainly early entrepreneurs figuring out their presence on the Internet. Uncertainty and impostor syndrome are common among them. And posting a discussion topic on Circle is difficult for them because 1) it stays there forever and 2) it requires a thoughtful opener
- Most of them told me that they're part of some other Slack communities or for work. This means they can easily switch around to participate. For Circle, they need to visit a unique link and it becomes the last thing they remember to do
I'm excited about the change. I'm also aware that some members might not enjoy this switch as Slack can get noisy and distracting. However, my job is to cultivate the best experience for the majority of the people, and I see moving to Slack being the right thing to do.
Plan for September
- Take a mental break - Running a few courses back to back in the last few months was a great learning experience, but even Ironman should rest. It is time to slow down from execution and regroup where I'm heading.
- Work on a new book/course - As mentioned, big products with ridiculous value are what people care about and talk about. I want to use everything I've learned and taught to put together something extraordinary. Calling it Showing Up Right for now. I'll be building it in public so if you want to get involved with my creation, join me!
- Hooray, I'm part of Maven's next cohort - I'll be joining the next Maven Course Accelerator starting Sep 27. This means I have to stay up a lot (1-3 am) but it is a great chance for me to learn and build a better cohort-based course! I see this working nicely with Showing Up Right!