CEO to Freelancer, Teaching vs Marketing

Sunday Beam #


January 27, 2021

Hey everyone! Can you believe it is end of January already? 🙄

Having a newborn is like having two clocks at the same time. I know time is passing fast, but it also feels slow watching Avery grow just a little bit every day.

We’re still taken care of by our confinement lady (someone we hire to take care of mom and newborn in the first 2 months), so things are going great. She is getting chubbier 😆

Daddy's bonding time with baby

This week, I have some exciting things to talk about:

  1. I’m helping a startup with their growth marketing
  2. What I got from “writing in public”
  3. Teaching vs Marketing

From being the CEO of a funded startup

For those who don’t know, in the last 2 years, I’ve been running a startup called Toasty and we were angel-funded. We had a hybrid-remote team of about 6-8 people and we built a video meeting platform.

I left in Oct and learned a lot about myself in that journey.

What I enjoyed: creating valuable content and getting readers and ranks, building an audience (more like friends) that can support each other, and figuring out the missing pieces and tackling them

What I didn’t enjoy: fundraising (sharing a story to investors is completely different from sharing a story with your team or users), managing too many people (hence less deep work to myself), and administrating all sorts of things like share allocations, holidays, where to work (during COVID) etc.

Now, I want to focus on the things that I enjoy doing, so recently I agreed to join a startup to help them with their growth marketing as a freelancer.

I know quite a lot of people struggle between being a generalist vs a specialist. I am not sure whether one day I’d go back to running a company, but at least for now, I’m staying true to myself.

What I got from “writing in public”

Many of you subscribed to this newsletter because you read part 1 of my Building in Public guide. I want to continue to share my progress and learnings about it.

I remember about 7 years ago when I worked at my first startup company, our motto was “Move fast and break things”. We lived by the Lean Startup practice: build something so small, push it out quickly, and collect feedback to iterate.

Over the years, I’ve been following that mindset. But now, I have a slightly different view.

Let’s take this guide as an example, I didn’t just create a draft and push it out. I did my research → outline → writing → reviewing → sent it to early readers → launch part 1. Repeat for part 2.

Why? With more and more “creations” being pushed out to the Internet, the “benchmark” of minimum viable product (MVP) has evolved. People used to tolerate something average, they knew it was a prototype. Now, relatively speaking, most people are less patient.

Therefore, I don’t think the motto “Move fast and break things” works anymore.

When I take my time to create, and I do it publicly, there are a lot of benefits:

If I haven’t been sharing all my work in public on @MeetKevon, all these would not have happened. I’d have launched the guide, had only a few readers, and became frustrated about it after spending dozens of hours on it. Building (Writing) in Public, so powerful.

Teaching vs Marketing

His name is Preetam and he runs two SaaS products with a partner and an online team. I want to highlight this week as an excellent marketing case study.

Preetam went from sorting out SEO for his own product, to getting featured by Webflow (very popular website builder; my website is built on it), to selling a course on Programmatic SEO. How did all that happen?

  1. He started becoming serious about SEO back in 2020 and wanted to find a way to scale his startup.
  2. He figured out a smart way to use Programmatic SEO to get tons of views in a short time.
  3. He saw an opportunity to show people how he did it and feature Webflow’s capabilities. (I think) he definitely aimed for Webflow’s blog to get more exposure.
  4. He received many questions that he launched a course to teach others how to do it, leveraging everything from #1-3 above.

Food for thoughts: how can we teach others valuable knowledge and do marketing at the same time?​


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