Jokes To Silence A Crowd At a Tech Conference – a.k.a The Rob Walling Post

If you attended MicroConf 2013 you might remember one thing that was special about MicroConf: After each break, instead of asking the audience to return to their seats and be silent, Rob Walling started to tell geeky jokes.

That actually worked pretty well. But with MicroConf Europe coming up in just over a month, Rob probably needs a few new jokes to silence the crowd. So, Rob, here's a list of jokes for you:

The Geeky Ones

  • So this bar walks into an UML activity diagram — and 17 things all start happening at once. (Kudos to Daniel Markham for sharing this on Twitter)
  • "What do you call a Local Area Network in Australia?" – "LAN down under"
  • So this SQL query walks into a bar. He asks "Mind if I join these two tables?" (Daniel Markham again, Ladies & Gentlemen!)
  • So this noSQL query walks into a bar and asks for a table. The bartender says "I'm sorry, we only serve documents here" (And Daniel goes for the hattrick)
  • Dr. Heisenberg is speeding down a road and gets pulled over by a cop. 
    Cop: "Do you know how fast you were going?" 
    Heisenberg: "No. But I know exactly where I am!" 
  • If at first you don't succeed; call it version 1.0 (Corollary: "If at first you don't succeed, call it pivot")
  • 99 little bugs in the code
    99 little bugs in the code
    Take one down, patch it around
    117 little bugs in the code
  • "Mr. Worf, scan that ship." – "Aye Captain. 300 dpi?"
  • A byte walks into a bar. Bartender: "Hi. You don't look good. Anything wrong?" – "I don't know. I just feel a bit off"
  • *Knock Knock*
    "Who's there?"
    *long pause*
    "Java"
  • *Knock Knock*
    "Who's there?"
    "C"
  • *Knock Knock*
    "Assembler"
    "Who's there?"
  • "Whats the object-oriented way to become wealthy?"
    Inheritance
  • 8 Bytes walk into a bar. 
    Bartender: "Hey guys. What can I get you?"
    "Makes us a Double"

The Business Ones

  • A penny saved is 1.39 cents earned, if you consider income tax
  • “So, what made you decide to go into business for yourself?”
    “It was something my last boss said.”
    “Really, what was that?”
    “You’re fired.”
  • A SEO consultant walks into a bar, bars, pub, public house, Irish pub, drinks, beer,….

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Was du von der MicroConf 2013 lernen kannst – auch wenn du gar nicht dort warst

Die MicroConf 2013 war eine einzigartige, außergewöhnliche Erfahrung für mich. Die ganze Konferenz war vollgepackt mit erstklassigen Ratschlägen, die man sofort im eigenen Unternehmen umsetzen kann.

Dieser Artikel soll meinen deutschen Lesern die wichtigsten Themen und die besten Ratschläge nahe bringen. Den vollständigen Überblick, inklusive aller Slides, Notizen, Podcasts und Blogposts rund um die MicroConf gibt es auf der HubPage. Allerdings auf Englisch, aber die wichtigsten Punkte gibt es ja hier noch einmal auf Deutsch.

Ratschläge zu den Themen Preisgestaltung und Cashflow

Einer der am häufigsten genannten Ratschläge war – wie schon im Jahr zuvor – den Preis zu erhöhen. Es gibt eine Menge guter Gründe, warum man das machen sollte, aber vor allem:

  • Du verlangst vermutlich viel zu wenig, verglichen mit dem Nutzen, den dein Produkt bringt (weil wir als Softwareentwickler einfach irgendwie immer so ticken)
  • ein höherer Preis erlaubt es dir dich intensiver um deine Kunden zu kümmern und gibt dir das Geld, das du brauchst um eine Erfahrung zu liefern, die den Preis rechtfertigt

Andere Ratschläge rund um Preisgestaltung und Cashflow:

  • Teste deine Preise. Setze einen A/B-Test auf, mit einem höheren Preis als einer Variation. Finde heraus, ob es die Konversionsrate beeinflusst
  • Verdoppele den Preis. Wenn dadurch nicht dramatisch die Konversionsrate einbricht, verdoppele ihn nochmal
  • Zum Start: Verlange doppelt soviel wie du selbst bereit wärst zu zahlen
  • jährliche Vorauszahlungen geben dir das nötige Kleingeld, um dein Unternehmen wachsen zu lassen
    • Biete ein oder zwei Monate kostenlos, wenn der Kunde jährlich im Voraus bezahlt
    • Hack: Erhöhe den Preis bei monatlicher Zahlweise und “reduziere” ihn bei jährlicher Zahlung auf das normale Level zurück
  • Ersetze eine “kostenlose 30-Tage-Testphase” durch “60 Tage Geld-Zurück-Garantie”
  • Verlange Geld für dein Produkt – akzeptiere keine Beteiligung am Umsatz
  • Verlange höhere Preise und liefere ein Produkt, das den Preis rechtfertigt (Frage dich selbst: “Was würde meine Kunden dazu bringen 99 Euro/Monat zu zahlen?”)
  • Biete mehrere Pakete an

Ratschläge zum Markt / Unternehmensmodell

  • B2B – denk gar nicht erst über B2C nach 
    • Unternehmen verstehen “Nutzen eines Produktes” deutlich besser als Endverbraucher
    • Einkäufer im Unternehmen geben meist nicht ihr eigenes Geld aus
  • Baue keinen Marktplatz (eBay, AirBNB, Dating-Sites etc)
    • Du hast zwei Startups (1x Käufer, 1x Verkäufer), die beide erfolgreich sein müssen
    • In der Regel kannst du nicht direkt Geld für deine Dienste verlangen, weil du Teilnehmer anlocken musst
  • Suche Märkte mit folgenden Eigenschaften
    • natürlich wiederkehrend (laufende Kosten, Support, Zyklen)
    • nicht Echtzeit – es nimmt Stress weg, wenn man nicht immer sofort Ergebnisse liefern muss
    • ein Produkt, das man “beenden” kann – keine Feature-Kriege mit der Konkurrenz
    • After-Markets, also Addons/Trainings zu existierenden Programmen
    • große Märkte, weil es dort sehr viele Nischen gibt in denen man sich einrichten kann
  • Wie man sein bestehendes Consulting-Unternehmen skalieren kann:
    • Erhöhe den Preis (Zielrichtung: XX.XXX Euro pro Woche)
    • Stelle Leute ein, verlange deinen Marktpreis für deren Arbeit
    • Erstelle ein Webinar, eBook oder Videos und verkaufe das als Produkt

Funnel & Conversion Optimization, Marketing

  • Long-Form Sales Pages schlagen alle anderen Formen von Landing Pages um LÄNGEN
  • E-Mail-Marketing funktioniert
    • Fang am besten GESTERN an E-Mailadressen zu sammeln (falls du das absolut nicht hinbekommst, fang SOFORT an!)
    • Halte die Liste warm
  • Copywriting Tipps:
    • Ersetze “Ich/Wir/Unser” durch “Sie/Ihr/Du/Dein”
    • Alles dreht sich um DEINE Kunden. Deine Kunden wollen Lösungen für ihre Probleme
    • Verwende “Auch wenn / Selbst wenn” (Schau mal in den Titel)
    • Verwende “3D” – wiederhole die wichtigsten Punkte drei Mal, damit auch der letzte Leser es versteht
    • Sprich mit deinen Kunden; Merk dir die Worte, die sie verwenden um dein Produkt zu beschreiben; Verwende genau diese Worte auf deiner Webseite
  • Eine gut sichtbare Telefonnummer auf der Sales Page kann die Konversionsrate stark erhöhen
  • Sorge dafür, dass deine Kunden gut in den Augen ihrer Kunden dastehen
  • Sparsamkeit lässt dein Unternehmen nicht wachsen
  • Kunden kaufen keine Software, sie kaufen Lösungen für Probleme

Die richtige Idee finden und das passende Produkt bauen

  • Warte nicht auf die perfekte Idee – sie wird vielleicht nie kommen
  • Wenn du mehrere Ideen hast, dann nimm die, die dich begeistert
  • Baue so wenig wie möglich, liefere es aus, verbessere es nach und nach
  • Selbst wenn du kein fremdes Geld willst: Rede mit Investoren. Sie werden dir die 10 Gründe sagen, die dein Produkt vollkommen sinnlos machen
  • Am Anfang musst du Dinge tun, die nicht skalieren – Beispiele
    • Schaue dir jede Webseite deiner Kunden an und gib Tipps wie man sie verbessern könnte
    • Sende 1.000 E-Mails in 3 Monaten, um Gastartikel zu bekommen (oder dein Produkt zu verkaufen)
    • Biete deinen Kunden für 100 Euro/Monat an einmal im Monat 2 Stunden mit dir zu telefonieren und beraten zu werden
  • Mehrsprachigkeit deiner Anwendung ist erst wichtig, wenn dein Heimatmarkt erschöpft ist (vermutlich also nie)

Customer Development & Akquise

  • Starte immer mit einer Hypothese – “Unsere Hypothese ist, dass (spezifische Kunden) ein Problem mit (spezifische Aufgabe) haben”
  • Fragen, die du beantworten können musst:
    • Wer sind meine Kunden?
    • Wo halten sich meine Kunden auf? (Online + Offline)
    • Wie erreiche ich meine Kunden?
  • Fragen, die du stellen kannst:
    • Was hat Sie überzeugt bei uns zu kaufen?
    • Wie würden Sie [PRODUKT] Freunden beschreiben?
    • Welche anderen Möglichkeiten haben Sie abgewogen, bevor Sie [PRODUKT] gekauft haben?
    • Wie würden Sie Leute wie Sie überzeugen [PRODUKT] zu verwenden?
  • Anzeigen / Werbung schlägt Social Media immer und überall – einfacher umzusetzen, skalierbar, besser messbar, wiederholbar
    • CPC = MRR / 25 ; Die Kosten für einen Klick (Besucher auf der Webseite) sollten maximal 1/25 des monatlich wiederkehrenden Umsatzes betragen
    • CPA = 1/3 LTV; Die Kosten, um einen Kunden zu gewinnen sollten 1/3 des gesamten Umsatzes mit diesem Kunden nicht übersteigen
  • E-Mails ROCKEN – pre-sales E-Mail-Kurse, Lifecycle-E-Mails
  • Wissen vermitteln ist die beste Form der Vermarktung
    • Verwende Autoresponder / E-Mail-Kurse
    • Verkaufe nur an Märkte, denen du Wissen vermitteln kannst
    • Schaffe Vertrauen, indem du viel MEHR Wert lieferst als erwartet

Retention und Churn

  • Die Churn-Rate zu verringern ist entscheidend für das Wachstum deines Unternehmens
    • passabel, aber nicht großartig sind 4% Churn / Monat
    • Mehr als 8%: Dein Produkt ist scheiße, reparier das!
    • Negativer Churn ist möglich (durch Upsells!)
  • Schreibe jedem Kunden, der kündigt, eine E-Mail und frage WARUM?
  • Versende Lifecycle-E-Mails, um die Retention zu erhöhen
    • Hilf Kunden beim Onboarding
    • Wenn die Trialphase ohne Erfolg ausläuft, biete an zu verlängern
  • Wenn dein Produkt konstant einen Nutzen liefert, dann schicke wöchentliche E-Mails und sag deinen Kunden wie gut dein Produkt für sie ist (Hilf ihnen dabei befördert zu werden!)

Was sonst nirgends so richtig hingehört

  • Wenn eine Metrik dein Verhalten nicht beeinflusst, dann ist sie schlecht (Heute schon nach deinem Traffic geschaut?)
  • Ein Unternehmer zu werden und einen Nutzen zu liefern, ist ein guter und gerechter Weg, um durch das Leben zu gehen” – Patrick McKenzie [freie Übersetzung]

 

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What You Can Learn From MicroConf 2013 – Even If You Did Not Attend

MicroConf has been an incredible experience for me and probably for a lot of folks who attended. It was packed with actionable advise to increase your business success and you can find a lot of the content over on the MicroConf hub page.

This post is here to summarize the most important topics and advices given at MicroConf 2013. It is pretty short and you can find much more information in the notes for the different talks, but this post is a good starting point to discover how actionable und plentiful the advice given was.

Lessons on Pricing and Cashflow

Again, one of the main take-aways was (as it had been the year before) to raise your prices. There are a bunch of reasons why this is a good idea, the main ones being:

  • you are probably under-charging for the value you deliver (because we are all developers and that’s just how we roll)
  • charging more allows you to better serve your customers because you have more resources to allocate to making them happy

advices around pricing and cashflow:

  • test your pricing – set up a split test with the higher prices as a variation, see if it affects conversion rates
  • double your prices, if it works, double them again. Repeat until conversion rates begin to drop
  • Initially charge twice as much as you would pay yourself
  • annual pre-pay gives you the money to grow your business – offer one or two months free in exchange for money upfront
    • hack: Increase monthly price and return to normal pricing with annual pre-pay
  • change “30 day free trial” into “60 day money-back guarantee”
  • charge your customers, don’t go for “revenue share” models
  • charge more and deliver to match the expectation (Ask yourself / existing customers: “What would it make worth $99 /mo?”)
  • Offer multiple price points

Advices On Market / Business Model

  • B2B – don’t even think about B2C
    • businesses understand “value” much better than consumers
    • people in businesses often don’t spend their own money
  • don’t do “marketplaces”(eBay, AirBNB, etc.) – you end up with 2 startups where both need to succeed
  • search for markets with the following characteristics
    • naturally recurring (on-going costs, financial cycles, support)
    • not real-time – if you don’t have to deliver value immediately, this takes away a lot of stress
    • something that can be “finished” – so that you can focus on marketing
    • After-markets – the product is there, you deliver an addon/training (Ex: WPEngine for WordPress)
    • BIG markets – because you have a LOT of niches to choose from (and can expand), there is room for “me-too” and the market is validated for you
  • How to scale your consulting business
    • dramatically increase prices ( $XX,XXX per week)
    • Hire people to do the work for you; bill them at your market rate
    • productize your consulting into a workshop, eBook, webinars, videos, etc.

Funnel & Conversion Optimization, Marketing

  • Long-form sales pages ROFLstomp (to use Patrick’s word) every other form of sales page
  • email marketing
    • start collecting addresses YESTERDAY (if you can’t manage that, start RIGHT NOW)
    • keep your list warm
  • Copywriting tips:
    • Replace “I/me/we” with “You/yours”
    • make it all about them – your customers want solutions for their pain points
    • Use “Even If” (“How to become a rockstar, even if you don’t do cocaine..”) and “3D” (Repeat the same problem three times to make it sink)
    • Talk to your existing customers & learn what words they are using to describe your product –> use those words
  • Having a telephone number prominently displayed on sales page, can increase conversion rate
  • Make your customers look good in the eyes of their customers
  • Frugality does not grow your business (you need to invest in it)
  • People don’t buy software, they buy solutions to problems

Does Not Fit Any Other Category

  • If a metric does not influence your behaviour, it is a bad metric
  • You will usually churn through 4-5 accountants before you find a good one – same can probably be said for VAs
  • “Becoming an entrepreneur and delivering value to the world is an righteous and awesome way to walk down in life” – Patrick McKenzie

Finding The Right Idea & Building Your Product

  • Don’t wait for the perfect idea – it might never come
  • If you have multiple ideas, go with the one that lights a fire in your belly
  • start with something, ship it, improve incrementally
  • Even if you do NOT search investment, talk to investors. They will tell you all the things that are wrong with your idea
  • Do things that do NOT scale in the beginning, e.g.:
    • manually review websites of your clients
    • send 1,000 mails to hundreds of people for guest posts (or sales)
    • offer your customers paying $100/mo or more 1-on-1 time with you (possibly upsell)
  • Care about localization AFTER you have maxed out your local market

Customer Development & Acquisition

  • Always begin with a hypothesis: “Our hypothesis is that [certain type of person] have a problem doing [certain type of task]
  • Questions you must be able to answer:
    • Who are your customers?
    • Where do they hang out?
    • How should you engage them?
  • Questions you can ask: (More in the notes for Hiten Shah’s MicroConf Talk)
    • What persuaded you to purchase from us?
    • How would you describe [PRODUCT] to your friends?
    • Which other options did you consider before choosing our products?
    • How would you persuade people like you to use [PRODUCT] ?
  • Advertisments beat Social Media every time all the time – they are repeatable, scalable and usually a lot easier
  • Emails ROCK – pre-sales email courses, cold calling emails
  • Teaching is the best form of marketing (“The more I help you, the more you will trust me” – Nathan Barry)
    • Use email courses
    • only sell to markets that you have something to teach
    • establish trust by OVER-delivering on value

Retention and Churn

  • lowering your churn rate is crucial to growing your business
    • acceptable (not great!) at about 4% / month
    • 8+% means: your product sucks, go fix it
    • churn will eventually limit the growth of your business (because you will loose as much revenue per month to churn as you acquire new revenue)
    • you can have negative churn (through upsells!)
  • email every cancellation and ask for reasons
  • send lifecycle emails to improve retention
    • help customers with the onboarding process
    • When trial is failing, offer to extend the trial
  • If you deliver constant value, email them and tell them (get them promoted by emails like “you made $1,500 using [PRODUCT] in the last week”)

 

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Memorable Quotes from MicroConf 2013

The MicroConf Hub Page with links to all the notes for all the talks can be found here.

Most Memorable Quotes Of MicroConf 2013

I am a big fan of quotes and MicroConf 2013 delivered its fair share of those. So without further ado:

“It is my fault. I can’t even blame my employees, because I don’t have any”Rob Walling

“Nobody wants to buy software. People want to buy outcomes: software is just a means to the end.” – Brennan Dunn

“Cash is king. Annual prepay is God.”Jason Cohen

“You don’t want to be in a feature war with another product. You want something that can be finished.”Jason Cohen

“Predictable acquisition of recurring revenue with annual prepay in a good market creates a cash machine.”Jason Cohen

“The Iron Law of the market: Markets that don’t exist, don’t care how smart you are.”Josh Kaufman

“It doesn’t matter how valuable the thing you created is if people don’t know you exist.”Josh Kaufman

“Collecting email addresses is a next best step to taking money for validation: nobody who won’t give email will ever pay you. “Patrick McKenzie paraphrasing Josh Kaufman

“EVERY speaker at MicroConf is in B2B (that should tell you something)”Jason Cohen

“If customers didn’t like long-form copy then people wouldn’t buy from them.”Joanna Wiebe

“Copywriting 101: Replace WE with YOU”Joanna Wiebe

“If a metric won’t change how you behave, it’s a bad metric.”Ben Yoskovitz

“Discovering correlation lets you predict the future. Discovering causation lets you CHANGE the future.”Ben Yoskovitz

“If you get featured on the App Store, it will change your life… for two weeks.”Patrick Thompson

“I had a problem and decided to use Java to solve it.” “Now I have a ProblemFactory”Rob Walling trying to silence the crowd

“Housekeeper is cheaper than therapist; Therapist is cheaper than divorce.”Sherry Walling handing out actionable advice on business with a family

“Don’t internationalize until you max out English / your native market.”Rob Walling

“You should increase your pricing based on the value your customer is receiving.”Rob Walling

“If you’re in doubt, ask for credit card up front.”Rob Walling

“The harder I work the luckier I get.”Rob Walling

“Doing things that don’t scale — awesome idea at times”Erica Douglass

“Free consultation/integration for any customer at $100+ a month is incredible sales and customer dev tool.”Erica Douglass

“Being frugal doesn’t help you grow your business.”Erica Douglass

“You are not your customer”Erica Douglass

“Make your customers look good in the eyes of their customers”Erica Douglass

“Be brave. Charge more + deliver experience to match. Do what others can’t /won’t. Do what doesn’t scale at the start.”Erica Douglass

“Lesson 1: never give money to an SEO guy.”Dave Collins as he takes $20 from attendee

“Dont write content for Google, write content for visitors.”Dave Collins

“Customer Development: If you ask questions in the wrong way, you get bad data that leads you in the wrong direction.”Hiten Shah

“How you get to the customer is as important, if not more, than what you get to the customer”Hiten Shah

“Hypothesis Framework:
Our hypothesis is that a (certain type of person) have a problem doing (certain type of task).”
Hiten Shah

“The more I help you, the more you will trust me.”Nathan Barry

“Sales is a learned skill and a process. Always iterate on your sales pitch.”Mike Taber

“First impressions will dominate regardless of how often it is contradicted by new experiences.”Mike Taber

“People don’t buy software, they buy solutions to problems.”Mike Taber

“Experience might be the best teacher, but the tuition rates are really high”Mike Taber

“Teaching is the best form of marketing. Only sell to a market you have something to teach.”Nathan Barry

“It’s not customer validation until you have their credit card”Nathan Barry

“By increasing trust and lowering friction, it increases the odds that somebody becomes a customer.”Brennan Dunn

“The way to establish trust is to over-deliver value.”Brennan Dunn

“When somebody is trying to sell you something, you look for any excuse to bail.”Brennan Dunn

“Everybody should go home and implement an email mini-course.”Unknown; from twitter via Patrick McKenzie

“You may go through 4 or 5 accountants [before you find a good one]. That’s normal”Cameron Keng

“Income is one thing. Taking 3 months off for your wedding and not losing income is something else entirely.”Patrick McKenzie

“Lifetime email sequences after customer relationship starts can dramatically increase retention”Patrick McKenzie

“if you’re providing monetary value to your customer, email them regularly. Remind them in dollars. Get them promoted”Patrick McKenzie

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Patrick McKenzie – Building Things To Help Sell The Things You Build – MicroConf 2013

The MicroConf Hub Page with links to all the notes for all the talks can be found here.

Speaker: Patrick McKenzie (@patio11)

  • “Bingo Card Creator is doing business on hard mode”

Once More, With(out) Feeling

  • Listen to Peldi: Start a business that fascinates you (or risk burning out on it)
  • FYI for lifestyle design: your own business is where it is at
  • Becoming an entrepreneur and delivering value to the world is an righteous and awesome way to walk down in life

Quick Wins To Pay For MicroConf 2014

  • Fundamental SaaS Equation: [traffic] * [conversion_rate] * [ARPU] / (1 – [churn])
  • Traffic is the hardest to optimize for – see Rob Walling’s Blog
  • Conversion rate throughout funnel is easier, but takes weeks/months to see results
  • ARPU you can manipulate with a few minutes of work
  • Churn: run your own Operation Retention

Star #1: Charge. More.

  • killed $9 plan
  • Added $199 plan due to apparent demand

Star #2: Drip Email Campaign

  • Drip email marketing is often/typically pre-signup, lifecycle emails are post-signup
  • Lifecycle emails require more app-specific logic
  • Very helpful: good understanding of funnel
  • Not required:
    • Lots of volume
    • Great copywriting

Star #3: Annual Billing

  • Offer discount (“1 month free”) if they switch to annual billing
  • Offer it to “loyal customers” over email
  • One click + confirmation to switch
  • Conversion Rate 10 – 25%
  • Immediate revenue of $200 per email sent

Raising Your ARPU, Trivially

  • Consider Bob with 280 appointments in the small business plan ($79)
  • Is Bob happy? How can we make him happier?
  • We should do him a solid and offer to upgrade to “Office” plan ($199) at a discount
  • Did this at a consulting client:
    • Run my SQL query of everyone who is within 20% of quota on FEATURE_1, FEATURE_2 or FEATURE_3
    • Add new special offers for the higher plans with a slight (~20%) discount
    • Write email offering upgrade to special offer
    • Make +N% revenue per year

Investigating Low Conversion Rates

  • Check if users are actually using your service
  • Start walking your customers through the product using lifecycle email​
  • send emails based on how successful they are in using the product

Lifecycle Emails

  • Day Zero: Auto-generated Welcome Email
  • Day Three: “Personal” welcome email from “me”
  • Day Twenty:
    • Trial successful: sell them hard
    • Trial not successful: rescue the trial
  • Day Twenty Seven: “Incoming Charge”

Star #4: Weekly Check-Up (“Get Them Promoted”)

  • High perceived value
  • Great engagement
  • Creates “ongoing earned media” via the option to embed announcements / links / etc.
  • Makes ROI discussions academic

Star #5: Digging into Individual Accounts

  • Bob’s usage goes up & to the right –> his business is doing well
  • If he cancels OR a credit card billing fails, he gets a call (because probably his CC data needs to be updated)
  • everyone gets 3 dunning emails
    • Get to the point ASAP
    • Prominent link to capture updated CC data
    • Extend a 3 day grace period, try daily within grace
    • Don’t forget a “You didn’t update so we took the liberty of pausing your account” email

How To Quit Consulting

  • People say consulting doesn’t scale.
  • Ways to scale consulting:
    • Move your rate up, dramatically
    • Hire people
    • Improve your utilization at the margin
  • So why did I quit?
    • Constant rat race to get new clients
    • Lots of unpaid time doing prospecting / proposal / administrative work
    • You have a boss and you have to go to work every day
  • ​Productized consulting
    • Your most common / most valuable consulting engagement, delivered without the full dance
    • An e-book / video course / etc.
    • A training event / seminar / etc
  • Sell it through email
  • Offer it at a variety of price points
  • Make several gigs worth of money in a repeatable, scalable, tweakable fashion

My Non-software Product

  • Most common consulting engagement (2010): “We send no email. Can you, like fix that?”
  • I would implement:
    • Drip marketing (see MicroConf 2012 presentation)
    • Lifecycle emails (like two minutes ago)
  • It generally required:
    • Lots of sales/convincing
    • A bit of coding
    • Copywriting by me
  • Why choose this over consulting (from a customer’s perspective)?
    • Because it is $500 vs. $20,000
    • Because you couldn’t find somebody to do this for you
    • Because you’re not sure you can get to it right now
    • Because it’s a cheap easy way “to test the waters”
  • Why Not Get It Free on the Internet?
    • Because real businesses spend money on problems
    • “Free, if you have two week to research it” is not free to someone who cuts paychecks
    • Because paid initiatives signal quality and help to reduce roadblocks to adoption within an organization
  • The Key To Marketing It
    • Started building an email list a few months in advance
    • Focused 75% on teaching people stuff (pricing, selling to enterprises, A/B testing, etc) and 25% on telling them about upcoming product
    • Sent two, count ’em, two sales emails
    • Sent folks to a long copy page

Nathan Barry Is An Effing Genius

  • Three packages: $249 / $99 / $39
  • Sales focuses on what customer gets not on what the price is
  • Packaging is a huge win (largest package made ~75% of total revenue)

What Did My Actual Product Look Like?

  • Me speaking into webcam and $60 microphone
  • Loosely scripted. If I were to do it again, I would add slides
  • Took ~2 weeks to record plus video editor @ $3,000
  • Hosted video on Wistia and rolled my own delivery platform (you should probably use Gumroad or similar)
  • Partnered with folks with related interests: additional value to customers at vanishingly little work to me (e.g. CopyHackers for copy writing)
  • Revenue:
    • Launch day: $12,862
    • Next week or two: $16,576
    • “Reminder: Sale ends today”: $15, 579
    • TOTAL: $64,608

Keys To Product Success

  • email, email, email. Get people on it, delight them, teach them, sell only occasionally
  • Target a pain point that you know there is demand for
  • Work on your copy.
  • Deliver quality products, because you have only one reputation.

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Cameron Keng – Taxes for SaaS – MicroConf 2013

The MicroConf Hub Page with links to all the notes for all the talks can be found here.

Speaker: Cameron Keng (@cameronkeng)

  • When you loose money, claim your tax refund
    • I lost $20,000
    • asked for tax refund
    • got $10,000 refunded
    • re-invested money into the next business idea
  • Failure should not stop you, keep soldiering on
  • “And then I said: Pay taxes? What am I…. poor?”
  • Online sales tax is coming – 27 states currently require you to pay them Amazon style

Incorporations

  • You should never incorporate, except:
    • Is there liability?
    • Is there profit?
    • Is there investment?
  • pass-through vs. corps
    • Generally, corps suck
    • Pass-throughs are cool
  • tax credits & deductions
    • R&D tax credits (this is great, because we are all developing software – right?)
    • Domestic production activities deduction

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Brecht Palombo – How a Non-Technical Founder Built a 6 Figure SaaS App Using Only Free Public Data Sources – MicroConf 2013

The MicroConf Hub Page with links to all the notes for all the talks can be found here.

Speaker: Brecht Palombo (@distressedpro)

History

  • Started Real Estate Auction Business in October 2006
  • Started Real Estate Brokerage right before the bubble in August 2007
  • Until your back’s up against the wall you never know yourself that much at all.

3 Keys that got me to $100k

  1. Open up – make most of your content available to everyone
  2. Niche, Niche, Niche 
    No: “real estate investing”
    Yes: “list of banks in Alabama with REO”
  3. Teach – 62 % of conversions come from free email course

2 Big Mistakes

  • Distracted by shiny objects
    • Random Affiliate Niche Site
    • Discovered twilio
  • Fire Bad Contractors Quickly

Focus

  • best way: Goals

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Brennan Dunn – The Long-Tail Sale – MicroConf 2013

The MicroConf Hub Page with links to all the notes for all the talks can be found here.

Speaker: Brennan Dunn (@brennandunn)

Slides on Speakerdeck (embedding does not work – if you know how to fix it, please let me know)

The Happy Path of Sales

  1.  Google Search Results
  2. Landing Page
  3. Signup (& Profit $$$)
  • The “Happy Path of Sales” is extremely high friction
  • Initially CPA > LTV

 

Increase Trust & Lower Friction

  • Trust (“Who are you, and why do you want my money?”)
    • Best way to establish trust: OVER-deliver on value
    • Teach them something that helps them (Ex: teach them to be better freelancers and increase rates)
  • Friction
    • caused by:
      • Sign up
      • Setup my account
      • Get familiar with the product
      • Invite team & explain the product to them – and why we need the product
      • OMG throw a real project at this and pray I don’t embarrass myself
    • When anyone is trying to sell you anything, we’re looking for any excuse to bail. You have to overcome objections

New Funnel

  1. Freelancer’s Weekly (Newsletter)
  2. Double Your Freelancing Rate ($49)
  3. The Blueprint ($49 – $249)
  4. Consultancy masterclass (live workshop, $1,199)
  5. Planscope (SaaS)

Metrics of the New Funnel

  • CPC 2.10 with LinkedIn ads
  • 40% conversion –> $5.25 per subscriber
  • List of 4,507
  • drove $230,876 in revenue
  • = $51.22 (10x) per subscriber

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Nathan Barry – Zero to $5,000/month – MicroConf 2013

The MicroConf Hub Page with links to all the notes for all the talks can be found here.

Speaker: Nathan Barry

  • eBook revenue curve is essentially one short spike and then rapidly approaches zero (at best a low plateau)

Webapp Challenge

  • rules
    • start without an idea
    • build to $5,000/month in MRR
    • 6 month deadline
    • only spend $5,000 of my own money
    • only work on it 20 hours a week

Lessons Learned

  1. Teaching is the best form marketing
  2. Only sell to a market you have something to teach
  3. It’s not customer validation till you have their credit card
    1. “That is a cool idea” IS NOT ENOUGH
    2. “I would probably buy that” IS NOT ENOUGH
    3. “I would pre-order that” IS NOT ENOUGH
  4. Being your own customer is wonderful
  5. Transparency works
  6. Focus on making your customers successful

Current Success Level

  • $1,513 monthly recurring revenue
  • 32 paying customers

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Mike Taber – How to Sell Anything to Anyone – MicroConf 2013

The MicroConf Hub Page with links to all the notes for all the talks can be found here.

Speaker: Mike Taber (@singlefounder) – a.k.a. the Liquor Fairy

  • We are all in sales – all the time
  • Sales is a learned skill
  • Sales is a process
  • Sales can be used for Good … or Evil

Why do people buy things? (emotional triggers)

  • Greed (Mike’s kids are supposedly good at this)
  • Altruism (Tom’s shoes)
  • Pride (it makes me look smart / good – MicroConf ticket)
  • Fear (bad things will happen, if I don’t buy – insurance)
  • Envy (Rolex anyone?)
  • Shame (Flowers for your wife – I guess)

Headline

  • First impression takes .2 seconds on page
  • Impression is virtually set in stone after 2.6 seconds
  • First Impressions last forever
  • First impressions will dominate regardless of how often it is contradicted by new experiences

Stop Selling Software

  • People don’t buy Software – they buy Solutions to Problems
  • Billy:
    • Feature: Bluetooth
    • Benefit: Music/Phone Calls
    • Valued End State: Self-Esteem
  • Mom:
    • Feature: Bluetooth
    • Benefit: Music/Phone Calls
    • Valued End State: Peace of Mind (she’ll be able to call Billy at any time)
  • you need to talk to the following two people:
    • just purchased your product
    • just stopped using your product
  • Products find a certain market only when they help their customers get done the jobs that they have already been trying to do.” – Clayton Christensen
    Job of the Milkshake: Make the long commute easier

People don’t Buy Software

  1. They buy ways to overcome pain
  2. They are outsourcing processes
  3. They choose to allow other people to build things they need
  4. They don’t prescribe to the “Not invented here” syndrome
  5. [MISSING]

Iterating on Your Sales Pitch

  • Make the pitch all about what is important to them
  • Don’t be afraid to invoke fear or shame (“Would you like to help kids with cancer?”)
  • Be a sexist: Invoke the shame in the women (it works better than with men)
  • Do A/B testing

Enterprise Tactics

  • Ask if they have a Budget and how big it is
  • Ask for Authority (Who makes the decision? Ask to speak to that person!)
  • Ask for Need (Why would you like to do that?)
  • Ask for Timeline (How long will the purchase process take? Is there a deadline?)
  • Use Market Data (Example: After 6 months there are 10 pounds of human hair in your carpet)
  • Lead them to Yes
  • “Magic” Enterprise Pricing (2 Dollars below the assigned budget)

 

Experience might be the best teacher… but the tuition rates are really high

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