I’m still alive!

I took a little break to reflect on my progress so far and to develop a plan for the next few months.

One thing I noticed is just how smoothly everything went. I earned my first dollars, reached 1k in monthly recurring revenue and 1k Twitter followers without major struggles.

But I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. Most concerning to me is that I didn’t really fail at anything.

My conclusion from these observations is that I didn’t take enough risks. I played it safe and got okay results. That’s nice but I’m convinced that “what got me here won’t get me there”, as the saying goes.

Once I started thinking about what I want to achieve this year, it became clear to me that I’m not really interesting in working on little tweaks for my existing projects to squeeze out 10% of additional growth or so. Instead, I want to find ways to leverage them into something that yields 10x or 100x the returns.

That may sound a bit silly but as I said, my goal this year is to be more ambitious and to take more risks. Also I think I have a pretty solid plan how to get there.

I took inventory and decided what my product and personal branding strategy this year should look like. In both areas I’m aiming for 10x growth.

While it’s almost a cliche at this point, it all boils down to the fact that I need to provide more value. I always roll my eyes when I hear that sentence from someone. But the more I think about it, the more I become convinced that it’s possible to come up with an actionable strategy this way.

I started by thinking about: Why do people buy my products? Why are they interested in following my journey? Then I started to think about: what could I offer to people interested in one of the use cases so that it would be a no brainer even if I charged 10x the current amount.

On the personal branding side of things, I’ve decided that I’ll do something similar to Shaan Puri’s All Access Pass. He decided to start and take four businesses in four months from zero to $1M and share the whole process with subscribers who we were willing to pay $199 per month. Although lots of people signed up for it, he quit the project just after three months. The main reason was that it was too stressful since he wrote a daily update and his goal is to reach millions of people not just a few hundred.

Now I’m primarily inspired by the general idea and not by the specific way he decided to carry it out.

So while I too will offer an “all access pass”, I’ll do things a bit differently.

  • Instead of a daily update, I’ll write one whenever I have something interesting to share.
  • Instead of aiming to build million dollar businesses, I’ll only promise that I’ll share my journey wherever it may take me.
  • Instead of charging $199 per month I’ll charge $10.

I wrote a lot more about my motivation for this experiment here. Most importantly, I should emphasize that I’m not doing it to earn money. Instead, my primary motivation is that I noticed that there seems to be a significant mindset shift as soon as there’s a paywall.

Everyone seems to feel more confident to share things openly if it’s only with a small community of people who actually care about reading their content and know its context. So I primarily want to find out how my content changes if it’s behind a paywall. My hope is that it’ll become a lot more interesting and everyone wins that way.

So while I’ll definitely continue to publish occasional free updates and essays, the in-depth, actionable, and personal stuff will be published on Bootstrap.mba behind a paywall.

But as I said, the paywall is primarily a filter for people who genuinely care about my content. Hence if you fall into that category but can’t afford to pay $10 per month, just send me a message and I’ll happily create a free account for you.

One paywalled article I already published is a more detailed discussion of my product strategy this year. I also wrote about the playbook I used to level up from nobody to someone.

Additionally I uploaded a bunch of behind-the-scenes calls and a first "investor update"

In other news:

  • Daniel and I launched Indie Drops on Product Hunt. The launch went well and we almost tripled our subscriber number. However, we’re still struggling to find a good, consistent approach for our emails. In particular, sourcing great deals is a lot harder than I had initially assumed. After all, who wouldn’t want free marketing? Lots of businesses and creators it seems. (I shared two behind-the-scenes calls with Daniel where we talk about these issues on Bootstrap.mba.)
  • For the first time, one of my articles went viral on Hacker News. I had intentionally avoided Reddit and Hacker News for the most part during the past few months since I like living in my little positive bubble. But after Keevin O’Rourke (who writes the amazig Brainstorms.io newsletter) told me how much success he has with his Reddit strategies, I decided to give it a shot. (I’ll share that conversation soon.) And just from this one experiment I can already say that, yeah, he’s definitely right. While people can certainly be mean on Reddit and Hacker News, the upsides are immense so that it would be silly to ignore them. I got hundreds of new email subscribers and almost 500 new Twitter followers from the one article that went viral on Hacker News.

Speak soon,

Jakob

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