Some quick wins for March were:
- I managed to get write-ups published in Buffer, Entrepreneur, The Next Web, and Business.com
- My startup LeadFuze hit a six figure run rate by the 90 day mark
- I managed to take two vacations
Here’s a screenshot from my RescueTime dashboard:
Two new hires should help me focus tremendously on the growth of LeadFuze. Both are coming onboard full-time in April, so I’ll have more to discuss in next month’s review.
March was a good month in terms of landing some nice guest blog opportunities. I ended up being featured in Entrepreneur which was a cool surprise. I’ll explain more on that in a bit, but here’s the list of content I published in March:
- JustinMcGill.net – Behind the Scenes of Launching a Podcast
- JustinMcGill.net – The One Question to Ask a Potential Co-Founder to Get Them Onboard
- JustinMcGill.net – My Month in Review: Founder’s Journal for February 2015
- LeadFuze – We Can Now Find Leads for You in Two New Ways
- LeadFuze – From Idea to Six Figure Run Rate in 90 Days – Here are the Details
- LeadFuze – 13 Reasons Why Your Lead Generation Strategies Don’t Pay Off
- Buffer (guest blog) – The 7 Steps to a ‘Good-to-Great’ Content Marketing Strategy
- WP Curve (guest blog) – How to Know What Root Keywords Rank Well in Search Engines
- RainToday (guest blog) – 6 Follow-up Tactics to Win Prospects Over
- Business.com (guest blog) – Warm it Up: How to Craft an Effective Cold Email
- The Next Web (guest blog) – Why These 9 Companies Choose Transparency
My Buffer guest blog went live in early March, but I noticed towards the end of the month that post started getting lots of retweets and favorites again. I assumed Buffer put it into their suggestions or something.
For those not familiar, Buffer recommends certain articles to their readers to help them have an active social campaign.
Turns out that the post ended up being republished on Entrepreneur. You may recall in a previous month in review I tried to get a guest column lined up, but never heard back. I still haven’t heard back, but this gets me a profile on the site and now something I can reference if I can work my way into a conversation.
On top of those guest blogs, the piece in The Next Web was a highlight. In a future post, I plan into going in great detail about how I pulled this off and got on the radar of some major influencers.
I now have a writing team helping contribute to the LeadFuze blog as well. We got started in the middle of March and new content has been posted weekly.
I didn’t get much reading in this month aside from blog posts. I will say though, if you haven’t read Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes you are doing yourself a disservice.
Aside from a few blog posts this month, I rewrote my About Me page, made small text edits to the contact page, and added a whole new My Projects page. I also updated the thank you page that only appears after you sign up to be a subscriber.
The thank you page now invites subscribers to join me in a closed Facebook group. The Facebook group is for the podcast (more on this below) and discussions around taking a startup (in my case LeadFuze) to $20k/mo in MRR and beyond.
I also plan on adding a video to the thank you page as well to connect with subscribers in another way, but that probably won’t be in place until next month or so.
As mentioned in the “writing” section above, LeadFuze managed to break the $8,334/mo in monthly recurring revenue number, which means it is now on a six figure run rate (monthly MRR x 12).
It is growing fast, which in turn brings it’s own set of challenges.
Chief among them right now, is how to stay organized as I bring in our first two new hires (Michael as our Copy Chief and Jayne as my virtual assistant), while simultaneously trying to acquire more customers.
I am still in the process of identifying our target customer. We are getting more and more interest from Accountants (initial test target), but with tax time being around the corner, many of them are wanting to talk after April.
I get the most inbound leads from agencies (marketing and web development), which is a given due to my own background.
I’ve said numerous times, that by providing such transparency in terms of our revenue and numbers, we invite competitors and show them a roadmap. Well, in March that happened. It all went down in a very bizarre way with the person having contacted me to strike up friendly conversation.
I helped him with some cold email strategies, gave him insights into how LeadFuze works (which I am pretty open about anyway) and then a few days later he launched his own version. Amazingly, he even used the exact same website theme. To each their own I guess.
For April, I am looking forward to getting my new hires trained. This will help me focus more of my time on sales efforts. I think by May I should be in a pretty good groove.
Oh development problems.
Seems I’m writing about this every month. I have gone back and forth on what to do here given that the existing code base has the handprints of four different developers, it’s a little messy. Each new release introduces new bugs and quirks. My current developer is very part time.
I am considering doing a few different things at this point:
- Continuing along the same as I’ve been doing it
- Redevelop the whole product and use bits and pieces from existing code base, but all with one developer to get a cleaner codebase
- Hire an agency off oDesk to redevelop, or possibly just dramatically overhaul the existing codebase
- Use a new service I was introduced to called Toptal, which supposedly takes the best of the best developers and offers them to you on part-time or a full-time basis and you pay weekly.
As often as I have hired developers, I was surprised I never heard of Toptal previously. I am probably going to go this route in the future. For now the plan is to continue with what I have until a little more traction is gained and I can justify a heavier investment into the rebuild.
Workado generated $570/mo in revenue the last 30 days. It still is costing me more money to operate it than it is making, but such is the life in the early SaaS game.
Live Chat Ninjas
So as you may know from last month’s review, I took on this project after being approached by someone who had launched the site and had this idea.
Given my LeadFuze system, I can pretty easily validate business ideas since I can gather targeted contacts and start reaching out to these people to see if there’s any interest in the service.
I feel like this is such an advantage that most people don’t get to take advantage of, and so I like to take on some projects like this periodically. Have a product that you need help with from a marketing standpoint? No promises, but you can try to contact me to see if it is something that suits my skillset and I’d be interested in partnering with you on.
Up until now, my role as Advisor was mainly just to be there if anyone had questions. However, I have seen the impact of me leaving has made in terms of revenue decreasing and team morale.
Though I am not going to get involved, I did decide to hold a more formal monthly meeting to review what was worked on and what the plans are for the next month.
Even though this is a small time investment on my end, I do feel that it will help the agency move forward with more of a plan.
Zero to Scale
I can finally talk about this now that the site is live and we have some episodes recorded. Last week I went behind the scenes into launching a podcast. This week it will be on iTunes!
I know how much of an impact podcasts have made for me, and I’m excited to be able to share some of the lessons I’ve learned (and am still learning) with others to hopefully make an impact on someone else.
I would do this even if we only had one listener, just because I enjoy talking startups and working through challenges and I couldn’t have a better Co-host to work with who shares a similar philosophy.
Want to go further into the behind the scenes journey of taking a startup from idea to $20k/mo and beyond? Join the Facebook group and join in on the discussions. We have lots of lively discussions and some cool guys in the group like Noah Kagan, Alex McClafferty, and more who are offering some great feedback.
Again, here is the link to request an invite into the group.
Nothing too major here, but I did purchase a PR related piece ($399) for KillerStartups.com. I kept hearing this as a great submission location for a startup. I wanted to see if this was worth it for future ventures.
So far, it has driven 14 visitors, but 2 leads. Jury is still out as this just went live on March 27th (Friday).
In the middle of March, I took my wife and son to New York. My wife is from there and so we visited with her family and did some sight seeing.
Some friends from Arizona joined us a couple days after we got there as well. It would have been a good time, if we all didn’t end up sick the whole trip. My son ended up with pink eye in both eyes, lots of vomiting and other things I won’t mention.
When I got back from NY, my friend Maria asked me to join her in a Jack and Jill poker tournament at Casino Arizona. We ended up winning the tournament for a nice $1k in winnings.
I then went to Vegas with a couple buddies the last weekend of March for some March Madness and more poker. Yes, I won $400 on the last free throw Duke got to shoot. What an insane finish. I also won another $300 at poker, but lost over $1k playing Bacarrat and Roulette.
On the 30th, I finally took in a spring training game. Spring training is such a beautiful time in Arizona. My friends run NetworkingPhoenix.com and we end up doing this every year.
Greg Hickman, my new podcast Co-host, came into town for ICON (Infusionsoft Conference). It was my first time meeting him in person as well.
I am heading back to Vegas in April, but this time for business. It’s almost time for MicroConf! I could not be more excited to be hanging out with a bunch of like-minded people in the startup/bootstrapping community.
April should be a big month.
I have my full-time VA starting April 6th. Michael’s first day as a full-timer was March 30th, but he’s attending a conference and so won’t really be into high gear until April 6th as well.
This means the first half of April, I will be doing a lot in terms of training. It should pay dividends in future months though. The end of the month is my birthday, which means only one thing…the NFL Draft is near!