The Micropreneur Academy

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.

Marketing Attempt

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.

Effective Learning

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.

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bjorn

Thanks for posting this! I was searching for some unbiased info about the academy before signing up and found this entry. So, I’m signing up .. will come back and harass you if I don’t like it. hehe 😉

Ruben

Oh no worries about that, I’m very active in the forums so I’m easy to find 🙂 I’ve consumed a ton of information on launching a product, and I can tell you that the the academy has been a huge influence on my first product acquisition (woohoo!), and the fact that I’m launching my first product.

Tarek

Hi Ruben,

But beside the material, don’t you get a very tiny sub-set of users from the BOS forum (Joel Spolsky’s Business of Software forum)

The thing I’m somewhat sceptical about is that you’ve got pay a service, for getting help by people which also seems to lack some skills, what’s the point?
I want to be helped by people which have succeed developing and selling their product to make a comfortable income they can live on.

I guess, I’ve got mixed feeling about it right now, but I think I will give it a shot and try the service to make up my own mind

Best Regards,
Tarek

Ruben

@Tarek – I like the BoS forums; I read them often still but you really can’t compare the two. In the Academy, there’s much less noise and the answers are more thorough and useful in my opinion. Plus, they’re private so it’s a very different feel.

Don’t forget the most useful part is getting direct feedback from Mike and Rob. The insight you get from their input you’ll never find in places like the BoS forums.

And I wouldn’t so easily dismiss the content. Seriously, if you want to succeed you’ll have all the info you need to make it happen. It’s truly high quality stuff that I’ve never read/heard before.

I completely agree though, it’s best just to check it out 🙂

Tarek

Ruben,

Thanks for taking the time replying to my post

“MicroISV denotes someone writing a small desktop application and selling it on a floppy disk, or these days from a website.
If you want to start a one-person software company, but you don’t want to write in Delphi…
Plus, the term MicroISV is narrow in focus…it implies someone selling downloadable software. What about those of us who want to build online photo sharing apps, online accounting software, and social networks?

Does all Micropreneur on Rob’s site are SAAS apps ?
Do you have folks doing (good old) desktop application ?
Does Micropreneur = Web App Developer ?

Thank you in advance for your feedback

Tarek

Ruben

@Tarek – There are all sorts of apps there. Rob has a few listed in the showcase on his blog: http://www.softwarebyrob.com/micropreneur-academy-product-showcase/

There’s actually some pretty cool non web app stuff that a lot of the members are working on. For example on that list, QuickReader is an iPhone app that the I helped beta test — it’s an awesome app. And the app called Lapsus is a desktop OS X app, still in alpha but it looks great from what I’ve seen.

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