Running a one person business can be a difficult task. There are always too many things to do and not enough time in a day to get them done. Ever since I stopped contracting and decided to launch a product, it’s been non-stop work with very little to show for it. Frankly, I was getting pretty tired of the whole thing; it was starting to feel like I would never finish.
I’ll admit, I can be a finicky bastard so it’s entirely my fault.
About a year ago I started development on my first product: a test case management system. I got 75% of the way done and stopped. I couldn’t find the motivation to keep working on it.
Why? It was boring. I just didn’t find it interesting. Not interesting enough to be enthusiastic about launching a product aimed at that field. So I decided find something I could get into.
New Idea Same Result
So what did I come up with? Proposal software for web designers. It may sound nutty but I like the field and I especially like the process.
Once I decided on a new field I quickly started working on a product. You would think that things went much better for me after that — not so. I got halfway done with the product and stopped. Trashed all my work and decided to rewrite the whole thing because my architecture was flawed.
Again, months of lost work.
Around that time I decided I needed a break, so I put development on hold. I spent a few weeks writing a free utility with the goal of gaining some exposure for my product. Once I released it, I saw a small spike in traffic which soon dropped to what it currently is today: one or two visitors a day. More time wasted.
To make a long story short, I started and stopped development about four times. I doubted whether anyone would pay for my product, whether I picked the right language, and whether I should be doing a desktop app instead of a web app.
On the marketing side, I didn’t do anything. I knew I needed to get started but there was so much information to consume and filter out that I kept putting it off.
Shortly after that I found out about an online school that was focusing on helping one person startups launch their business. I was actually talking to the founder — Rob Walling, who’s got one of the best blogs you’ll ever read — about buying a business, when he told me about this online school he was starting. A few weeks later he launched the Micropreneur Academy and was publishing amazingly useful content. I’ve read a lot of Micro-ISV books and blogs but this was the first time I was blown away with truly actionable information.
After I joined I quickly turned things around with my product. I put together a decent marketing strategy and went to work on my product and company websites.
So what sort of progress did I make?
- I increased traffic to my marketing site by 150%.
- I started a Google AdWords campaign that’s getting a 20% conversion rate.
- Email signups in general have increased by a factor of 10.
- I now have a clear marketing and pricing strategy.
Sure, when you’re starting with small numbers like I am, a 150% increase of traffic may not sound too impressive but you can’t imagine what seeing this sort of progress does for your motivation. Plus, I’ve only been at it for a couple of months so I think it’s a very promising start.
Info About the Academy
There’s a lot of good stuff inside the academy but I’ll mention a few things that really made an impression on me.
The way the content is delivered is great. There are plenty of options: HTML, PDF, MP3s and videos. The video content walks you through some of the trickier stuff in a way just can’t be done in writing.
The forums alone are worth the entry price. They’re filled with really smart people that give awesome feedback and advice. It’s the highest quality community I’ve ever seen.
Basically, the academy kicks ass. Rob has done a great job with it and I’ve learned a ton from it already.
All this to say that if you’re starting up a one person business, you’ll really want to take a look the Micropreneur Academy. It’s simply a smart business decision.