As mentioned in my last weeks report, I was working on performing website online presence audits, but then I run into the issue - I assumed 1 will take 3 days to complete, and it will be possible to get this down to 1 day.
Unfortunately, the second report did take 5 days, and as of now, it seems I cannot take on new orders because I won't be able to complete them.
That sucks, because, you know, I need to earn to pay for rent, etc.
Seeing that my first week's revenue might be the last one for a while, I quickly reactivated my side project from 2 years ago.
And this made me quite happy.
The service offered provides a second opinion idea validation.
It means that I am using a mix of tools to contact your potential audience and ask them to fill a quick survey.
They review your idea, sometimes leave a comment, then the results are converted into a clean report and sent to you.
This way, you can avoid a situation where you pursue an idea, spend $$$, and then find out there is no interest in it.
You can pretty much use this for ideas of any kind - startups, businesses, products, services, projects.
I stopped offering this service a long time ago because I had some personal matters to take care of. I had to make difficult decisions - either focus on my awesome side-project, or on my high-earning business. I chose the latter (that was a possible mistake).
But today is a new day, and I can finally get back to it. I even consider it as a hobby, so it's great to work on something you are passionate about!
I made a few changes to the website, created a new offer, performed tests, and within a few days, I have managed to secure 2 sales.
The first sale came from Reddit (I posted it on web dev Subreddit) - the smallest package purchased, but it was nice to get a bump.
The post on Reddit did make a huge impact - a lot of feedback and over 180 upvotes with a landing page that was not even really finished.
This gave me a validation of my own idea - it was a decision to get back to it!
The second sale was more unexpected. I started looking for possible customers, so I started scanning Reddit, IndieHackers, Facebook, Twitter for potential leads.
The method was simple - I was looking for people that are asking questions or posts about a problem, then I was asking myself - can my Idea Validation service help directly?
It's essential to be realistic - if someone is wondering if he should hire a plumber, he won't use my service, but by offering him Idea Validation, I could earn a spammers badge.
In total, I've found 5 leads that I thought would be perfect.
1 on Reddit, 3 on Facebook, and 1 on Twitter.
Reddit, Twitter, and 1 on Facebook never answered.
1 on Facebook sent me a "Thanks, I am cool".
Last one, a guy that was preparing for an investor pitch figured an Idea Validation report from an independent entity would increase the value of his meeting.
So not only he ordered - he got the largest package!
He requested a few changes to the report, which is fantastic since it allows me to work directly with a customer to provide better value.
Facebook once again proved to be an excellent lead generation source!
Of course, I bet this was more of luck this time (after all, I contacted only 5 people), but I will continue to do so (modestly) and see how it goes.
I need to flirt with the startup communities more and pitch to startups thinking about getting loans or funding.
Here is a breakdown of what was done:
-20 hours - completing a single audit
-15 hours - redesigning landing page and implementing idea validation reports and system
-2 hours - performing my own idea validation (with great success)
-3 hours - completing idea validation orders
-4 hours - monitoring and contacting leads on social media (this made a whopping $499)
-4 hours - writing and publishing an article on Reddit & Indie Hackers, answering comments
-6 hours - writing an unpublished article (I will finish it today and post it tomorrow)
Total of 54 hours
I've earned $528, which means I was working for $9.77 per hour. I was working for myself, and I am increasingly happy about where all of this goes, so I am OK with it. I've got used to the $45-120 per hour programming payouts, but beginnings are always hard. If I could get Almost Cake to 40 hours @ $25/ph, then I would be really happy for the time being. After all, I do all of this to give myself a break, not build million dollars company.
From the article that I wrote about re-launching my Idea Validation service and other sources, I've got 1,201 visits (I cannot track exact numbers for each source this week, unfortunately).
The conversion rate is only 0.16% - but that was expected since I was redesigning the landing page and fixing issues when traffic was hitting my site.
My ultimate goal is to increase it to 0.5% for non-search engine traffic.
This might take time, though.
Also, I lost all of my search engine traffic, but that's also expected since I completely redesigned the website, and Google still did not index the new content (I finally NEED sitemap done!).
Also, from bad news - I lost Tuesday. My overworking took its toll, and I was unable to work, think, and barely stand up.
The stress, overworking, working late hours, is starting to hurt me. So I took Tuesday off to let the body and mind recover.
I watched a movie (the first time in 3 months) and spent some time with my partner. It was awesome.
I start getting strange thoughts about my business...
I am in a bad situation, yet I feel that a lot of weight dropped from my shoulders.
I closed all time-wasting side projects, stopped working on any freelancer work, shut down everything that was built over a few years, and I felt that it allowed me to re-focus.
With a clearer mind, I am on crossroads:
-focus on audit business, that it's nice to do, but really demanding
-work on my side-project which I really like to do and I am passionate about
I think I will go exclusively with the second option.
Overall the unbiased idea validation (were people answering are not paid and are targeted by niche) is extremely difficult to pull off.
I have seen many companies trying and failing.
Popular ones that survived are paying its responders, which I think affects the results (but such services still have a place in the web world).
The good thing - I had this figured out and tested. So it's working for me, and most of the time, I can turn a profit.
By implementing a lead gen company, Twillio, and real, natural way of interacting with reviewers, this has a chance to become a significant player in this niche.
Unfortunately, those leads (due to GDPR) can be contacted only for research purposes, so I cannot use this setup to reach potential buyers.
The trick is to find a way to monetize this source of data, not to cry over the inability to sell anything to them.
So that's that; hopefully, I can do Idea Validation as my job, not just a side project.
My goal is to get 5-6 sales until next week's update, fingers crossed!