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Pat Vieljeux

Pat Vieljeux

1 year ago

The three-year business plan is obsolete for startups.

More on Entrepreneurship/Creators

Benjamin Lin

Benjamin Lin

1 year ago

I sold my side project for $20,000: 6 lessons I learned

How I monetized and sold an abandoned side project for $20,000

Unfortunately, there was no real handshake as the sale was transacted entirely online

The Origin Story

I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur but never succeeded. I often had business ideas, made a landing page, and told my buddies. Never got customers.

In April 2021, I decided to try again with a new strategy. I noticed that I had trouble acquiring an initial set of customers, so I wanted to start by acquiring a product that had a small user base that I could grow.

I found a SaaS marketplace called MicroAcquire.com where you could buy and sell SaaS products. I liked Shareit.video, an online Loom-like screen recorder.

Shareit.video didn't generate revenue, but 50 people visited daily to record screencasts.

Purchasing a Failed Side Project

I eventually bought Shareit.video for $12,000 from its owner.

$12,000 was probably too much for a website without revenue or registered users.

I thought time was most important. I could have recreated the website, but it would take months. $12,000 would give me an organized code base and a working product with a few users to monetize.

You should always ask yourself the build vs buy decision when starting a new project

I considered buying a screen recording website and trying to grow it versus buying a new car or investing in crypto with the $12K.

Buying the website would make me a real entrepreneur, which I wanted more than anything.

Putting down so much money would force me to commit to the project and prevent me from quitting too soon.

A Year of Development

I rebranded the website to be called RecordJoy and worked on it with my cousin for about a year. Within a year, we made $5000 and had 3000 users.

We spent $3500 on ads, hosting, and software to run the business.

AppSumo promoted our $120 Life Time Deal in exchange for 30% of the revenue.

We put RecordJoy on maintenance mode after 6 months because we couldn't find a scalable user acquisition channel.

We improved SEO and redesigned our landing page, but nothing worked.

Growth flatlined, so we put the project on maintenance mode

Despite not being able to grow RecordJoy any further, I had already learned so much from working on the project so I was fine with putting it on maintenance mode. RecordJoy still made $500 a month, which was great lunch money.

Getting Taken Over

One of our customers emailed me asking for some feature requests and I replied that we weren’t going to add any more features in the near future. They asked if we'd sell.

We got on a call with the customer and I asked if he would be interested in buying RecordJoy for 15k. The customer wanted around $8k but would consider it.

Since we were negotiating with one buyer, we put RecordJoy on MicroAcquire to see if there were other offers.

Everything is negotiable, including how long the buyer can remain an exclusive buyer and what the payment schedule should be.

We quickly received 10+ offers. We got 18.5k. There was also about $1000 in AppSumo that we could not withdraw, so we agreed to transfer that over for $600 since about 40% of our sales on AppSumo usually end up being refunded.

Lessons Learned

First, create an acquisition channel

We couldn't discover a scalable acquisition route for RecordJoy. If I had to start another project, I'd develop a robust acquisition channel first. It might be LinkedIn, Medium, or YouTube.

Purchase Power of the Buyer Affects Acquisition Price

Some of the buyers we spoke to were individuals looking to buy side projects, as well as companies looking to launch a new product category. Individual buyers had less budgets than organizations.

Customers of AppSumo vary.

AppSumo customers value lifetime deals and low prices, which may not be a good way to build a business with recurring revenue. Designed for AppSumo users, your product may not connect with other users.

Try to increase acquisition trust

Acquisition often fails. The buyer can go cold feet, cease communicating, or run away with your stuff. Trusting the buyer ensures a smooth asset exchange. First acquisition meeting was unpleasant and price negotiation was tight. In later meetings, we spent the first few minutes trying to get to know the buyer’s motivations and background before jumping into the negotiation, which helped build trust.

Operating expenses can reduce your earnings.

Monitor operating costs. We were really happy when we withdrew the $5000 we made from AppSumo and Stripe until we realized that we had spent $3500 in operating fees. Spend money on software and consultants to help you understand what to build.

Don't overspend on advertising

We invested $1500 on Google Ads but made little money. For a side project, it’s better to focus on organic traffic from SEO rather than paid ads unless you know your ads are going to have a positive ROI.

Alex Mathers

Alex Mathers

1 year ago

400 articles later, nobody bothered to read them.

Writing for readers:

14 years of daily writing.

I post practically everything on social media. I authored hundreds of articles, thousands of tweets, and numerous volumes to almost no one.

Tens of thousands of readers regularly praise me.

I despised writing. I'm stuck now.

I've learned what readers like and what doesn't.

Here are some essential guidelines for writing with impact:

Readers won't understand your work if you can't.

Though obvious, this slipped me up. Share your truths.

Stories engage human brains.

Showing the journey of a person from worm to butterfly inspires the human spirit.

Overthinking hinders powerful writing.

The best ideas come from inner understanding in between thoughts.

Avoid writing to find it. Write.

Writing a masterpiece isn't motivating.

Write for five minutes to simplify. Step-by-step, entertaining, easy steps.

Good writing requires a willingness to make mistakes.

So write loads of garbage that you can edit into a good piece.

Courageous writing.

A courageous story will move readers. Personal experience is best.

Go where few dare.

Templates, outlines, and boundaries help.

Limitations enhance writing.

Excellent writing is straightforward and readable, removing all the unnecessary fat.

Use five words instead of nine.

Use ordinary words instead of uncommon ones.

Readers desire relatability.

Too much perfection will turn it off.

Write to solve an issue if you can't think of anything to write.

Instead, read to inspire. Best authors read.

Every tweet, thread, and novel must have a central idea.

What's its point?

This can make writing confusing.

️ Don't direct your reader.

Readers quit reading. Demonstrate, describe, and relate.

Even if no one responds, have fun. If you hate writing it, the reader will too.

Jenn Leach

Jenn Leach

1 year ago

What TikTok Paid Me in 2021 with 100,000 Followers

Photo by Catherina Schürmann on Unsplash

I thought it would be interesting to share how much TikTok paid me in 2021.

Onward!

Oh, you get paid by TikTok?

Yes.

They compensate thousands of creators. My Tik Tok account

Tik Tok

I launched my account in March 2020 and generally post about money, finance, and side hustles.

TikTok creators are paid in several ways.

  • Fund for TikTok creators

  • Sponsorships (aka brand deals)

  • Affiliate promotion

  • My own creations

Only one, the TikTok Creator Fund, pays me.

The TikTok Creator Fund: What Is It?

TikTok's initiative pays creators.

YouTube's Shorts Fund, Snapchat Spotlight, and other platforms have similar programs.

Creator Fund doesn't pay everyone. Some prerequisites are:

  • age requirement of at least 18 years

  • In the past 30 days, there must have been 100,000 views.

  • a minimum of 10,000 followers

If you qualify, you can apply using your TikTok account, and once accepted, your videos can earn money.

My earnings from the TikTok Creator Fund

Since 2020, I've made $273.65. My 2021 payment is $77.36.

Yikes!

I made between $4.91 to around $13 payout each time I got paid.

TikTok reportedly pays 3 to 5 cents per thousand views.

To live off the Creator Fund, you'd need billions of monthly views.

Top personal finance creator Sara Finance has millions (if not billions) of views and over 700,000 followers yet only received $3,000 from the TikTok Creator Fund.

Goals for 2022

TikTok pays me in different ways, as listed above.

My largest TikTok account isn't my only one.

In 2022, I'll revamp my channel.

It's been a tumultuous year on TikTok for my account, from getting shadow-banned to being banned from the Creator Fund to being accepted back (not at my wish).

What I've experienced isn't rare. I've read about other creators' experiences.

So, some quick goals for this account…

  • 200,000 fans by the year 2023

  • Consistent monthly income of $5,000

  • two brand deals each month

For now, that's all.

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Todd Lewandowski

Todd Lewandowski

1 year ago

DWTS: How to Organize Your To-Do List Quickly

Don't overcomplicate to-do lists. DWTS (Done, Waiting, Top 3, Soon) organizes your to-dos.

Everyone’s got a system.

How Are You Going to Manage Everything?

Modern America is busy. Work involves meetings. Anytime, Slack communications arrive. Many software solutions offer a @-mention notification capability. Emails.

Work obligations continue. At home, there are friends, family, bills, chores, and fun things.

How are you going to keep track of it all? Enter the todo list. It’s been around forever. It’s likely to stay forever in some way, shape, or form.

Everybody has their own system. You probably modified something from middle school. Post-its? Maybe it’s an app? Maybe both, another system, or none.

I suggest a format that has worked for me in 15 years of professional and personal life.

Try it out and see if it works for you. If not, no worries. You do you! Hopefully though you can learn a thing or two, and I from you too.

It is merely a Google Doc, yes.

As an example, here’s my personal todo list. Don’t worry, there’s nothing here I don’t mind sharing.

It's a giant list. One task per line. Indent subtasks on a new line. Add or move new tasks as needed.

I recommend using Google Docs. It's easy to use and flexible for structuring.

Prioritizing these tasks is key. I organize them using DWTS (Done, Waiting, Top 3, Soon). Chronologically is good because it implicitly provides both a priority (high, medium, low) and an ETA (now, soon, later).

Yes, I recognize the similarities to DWTS (Dancing With The Stars) TV Show. Although I'm not a fan, it's entertaining. The acronym is easy to remember and adds fun to something dull.

That feeling when you complete everything on your todo list.

What each section contains

Done

All tasks' endpoint. Finish here. Don't worry about it again.

Waiting

You're blocked and can't continue. Blocked tasks usually need someone. Write Person Task so you know who's waiting.

Blocking tasks shouldn't last long. After a while, remind them kindly. If people don't help you out of kindness, they will if you're persistent.

Top 3

Mental focus areas. These can be short- to mid-term goals or recent accomplishments. 2 to 5 is a good number to stay focused.

Top 3 reminds us to prioritize. If they don't fit your Top 3 goals, delay them.

Every 1:1 at work is a project update. Another chance to list your top 3. You should know your Top 3 well and be able to discuss them confidently.

Soon

Here's your short-term to-do list. Rank them from highest to lowest.

I usually subdivide it with empty lines. First is what I have to do today, then week, then month. Subsections can be arranged however you like.

Inventories by Concept

Tasks that aren’t in your short or medium future go into the backlog. 
Eventually you’ll complete these tasks, assign them to someone else, or mark them as “wont’ do” (like done but in another sense).

Backlog tasks don't need to be organized chronologically because their timing and priority may change. Theme-organize them. When planning/strategic, you can choose themes to focus on, so future top 3 topics.

More Tips on Todos

Decide Upon a Morning Goal

Morning routines are universal. Coffee and Wordle. My to-do list is next. Two things:

  • As needed, update the to-do list: based on the events of yesterday and any fresh priorities.

  • Pick a few jobs to complete today: Pick a few goals that you know you can complete today. Push the remainder below and move them to the top of the Soon section. I typically select a few tasks I am confident I can complete along with one stretch task that might extend into tomorrow.

Finally. By setting and achieving small goals every day, you feel accomplished and make steady progress on medium and long-term goals.

Tech companies call this a daily standup. Everyone shares what they did yesterday, what they're doing today, and any blockers. The name comes from a tradition of holding meetings while standing up to keep them short. Even though it's virtual, everyone still wants a quick meeting.

Your team may or may not need daily standups. Make a daily review a habit with your coffee.

Review Backwards & Forwards on a regular basis

While you're updating your to-do list daily, take time to review it.

Review your Done list. Remember things you're proud of and things that could have gone better. Your Done list can be long. Archive it so your main to-do list isn't overwhelming.

Future-gaze. What you considered important may no longer be. Reorder tasks. Backlog grooming is a workplace term.

Backwards-and-forwards reviews aren't required often. Every 3-6 months is fine. They help you see the forest as often as the trees.

Final Remarks

Keep your list simple. Done, Waiting, Top 3, Soon. These are the necessary sections. If you like, add more subsections; otherwise, keep it simple.

I recommend a morning review. By having clear goals and an action-oriented attitude, you'll be successful.

Matthew Royse

Matthew Royse

1 year ago

5 Tips for Concise Writing

Here's how to be clear.

I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” — French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, and writer Blaise Pascal

Concise.

People want this. We tend to repeat ourselves and use unnecessary words.

Being vague frustrates readers. It focuses their limited attention span on figuring out what you're saying rather than your message.

Edit carefully.

Examine every word you put on paper. You’ll find a surprising number that don’t serve any purpose.” — American writer, editor, literary critic, and teacher William Zinsser

How do you write succinctly?

Here are three ways to polish your writing.

1. Delete

Your readers will appreciate it if you delete unnecessary words. If a word or phrase is essential, keep it. Don't force it.

Many readers dislike bloated sentences. Ask yourself if cutting a word or phrase will change the meaning or dilute your message.

For example, you could say, “It’s absolutely essential that I attend this meeting today, so I know the final outcome.” It’s better to say, “It’s critical I attend the meeting today, so I know the results.”

Key takeaway

Delete actually, completely, just, full, kind of, really, and totally. Keep the necessary words, cut the rest.

2. Just Do It

Don't tell readers your plans. Your readers don't need to know your plans. Who are you?

Don't say, "I want to highlight our marketing's problems." Our marketing issues are A, B, and C. This cuts 5–7 words per sentence.

Keep your reader's attention on the essentials, not the fluff. What are you doing? You won't lose readers because you get to the point quickly and don't build up.

Key takeaway

Delete words that don't add to your message. Do something, don't tell readers you will.

3. Cut Overlap

You probably repeat yourself unintentionally. You may add redundant sentences when brainstorming. Read aloud to detect overlap.

Remove repetition from your writing. It's important to edit our writing and thinking to avoid repetition.

Key Takeaway

If you're repeating yourself, combine sentences to avoid overlap.

4. Simplify

Write as you would to family or friends. Communicate clearly. Don't use jargon. These words confuse readers.

Readers want specifics, not jargon. Write simply. Done.

Most adults read at 8th-grade level. Jargon and buzzwords make speech fluffy. This confuses readers who want simple language.

Key takeaway

Ensure all audiences can understand you. USA Today's 5th-grade reading level is intentional. They want everyone to understand.

5. Active voice

Subjects perform actions in active voice. When you write in passive voice, the subject receives the action.

For example, “the board of directors decided to vote on the topic” is an active voice, while “a decision to vote on the topic was made by the board of directors” is a passive voice.

Key takeaway

Active voice clarifies sentences. Active voice is simple and concise.

Bringing It All Together

Five tips help you write clearly. Delete, just do it, cut overlap, use simple language, and write in an active voice.

Clear writing is effective. It's okay to occasionally use unnecessary words or phrases. Realizing it is key. Check your writing.

Adding words costs.

Write more concisely. People will appreciate it and read your future articles, emails, and messages. Spending extra time will increase trust and influence.

Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” — Naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau

Jess Rifkin

Jess Rifkin

1 year ago

As the world watches the Russia-Ukraine border situation, This bill would bar aid to Ukraine until the Mexican border is secured.

Although Mexico and Ukraine are thousands of miles apart, this legislation would link their responses.

Context

Ukraine was a Soviet republic until 1991. A significant proportion of the population, particularly in the east, is ethnically Russian. In February, the Russian military invaded Ukraine, intent on overthrowing its democratically elected government.

This could be the biggest European land invasion since WWII. In response, President Joe Biden sent 3,000 troops to NATO countries bordering Ukraine to help with Ukrainian refugees, with more troops possible if the situation worsened.

In July 2021, the US Border Patrol reported its highest monthly encounter total since March 2000. Some Republicans compare Biden's response to the Mexican border situation to his response to the Ukrainian border situation, though the correlation is unclear.

What the bills do

Two new Republican bills seek to link the US response to Ukraine to the situation in Mexico.

The Secure America's Borders First Act would prohibit federal funding for Ukraine until the US-Mexico border is “operationally controlled,” including a wall as promised by former President Donald Trump. (The bill even mandates a 30-foot-high wall.)

The USB (Ukraine and Southern Border) Act, introduced on February 8 by Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT0), would allow the US to support Ukraine, but only if the number of Armed Forces deployed there is less than the number deployed to the Mexican border. Madison Cawthorne introduced H.R. 6665 on February 9th (R-NC11).

What backers say

Supporters argue that even if the US should militarily assist Ukraine, our own domestic border situation should take precedence.

After failing to secure our own border and protect our own territorial integrity, ‘America Last' politicians on both sides of the aisle now tell us that we must do so for Ukraine. “Before rushing America into another foreign conflict over an Eastern European nation's border thousands of miles from our shores, they should first secure our southern border.”

“If Joe Biden truly cared about Americans, he would prioritize national security over international affairs,” Rep. Cawthorn said in a separate press release. The least we can do to secure our own country is send the same number of troops to the US-Mexico border to assist our border patrol agents working diligently to secure America.

What opponents say

The president has defended his Ukraine and Mexico policies, stating that both seek peace and diplomacy.

Our nations [the US and Mexico] have a long and complicated history, and we haven't always been perfect neighbors, but we have seen the power and purpose of cooperation,” Biden said in 2021. “We're safer when we work together, whether it's to manage our shared border or stop the pandemic. [In both the Obama and Biden administration], we made a commitment that we look at Mexico as an equal, not as somebody who is south of our border.”

No mistake: If Russia goes ahead with its plans, it will be responsible for a catastrophic and unnecessary war of choice. To protect our collective security, the United States and our allies are ready to defend every inch of NATO territory. We won't send troops into Ukraine, but we will continue to support the Ukrainian people... But, I repeat, Russia can choose diplomacy. It is not too late to de-escalate and return to the negotiating table.”

Odds of passage

The Secure America's Borders First Act has nine Republican sponsors. Either the House Armed Services or Foreign Affairs Committees may vote on it.

Rep. Paul Gosar, a Republican, co-sponsored the USB Act (R-AZ4). The House Armed Services Committee may vote on it.

With Republicans in control, passage is unlikely.