Craig Hewitt: “Evolution of a Productized Service – The Story of PodcastMotor” – FemtoConf 2017

The FemtoConf 2017 Notes and recaps can be found on the central hub page.

Twitter: @TheCraigHewitt

The Premise of Productized Services

  • Quick to launch
  • easy to validate
  • Provide immediate profit
  • Have a clear scope and value proposition
  • Allow previously unprofitable business models to become profitable at scale

But does it scale..? 

  • Yes, however
    • Margin will only go down
    • We saw a ceiling in total revenue/customers
    • Questionable “sellability” of business
      • You don’t want to spend 20h/week working on something that cost you $200k to buy
    • Linear growth curve (along with expenses)

PodcastMotor History

  • 01/15 ==> Launch
  • 03/15 ==> 3 customers, $1k/mo
  • 05/15 ==> 3 team members
  • 08/15 ==> 6 team members
  • 01/16 ==> First $10k/mo
  • 05/16 ==> went full time
  • 07/16 ==> Launched first WP Product
  • 10/16 ==> $20k / mo
  • 12/16 ==> Acquired SSP
  • 01/17 ==> Launch in a Week Course
  • 02/17 ==> Launching PodcastMotor Connect

Lessons Learned Scaling

  • Document everything
  • Better Hiring >> Better Delegation
  • Revisit Monthly where/when you are Limiting Factor
  • Avoid Scope Creep
  • Retain Good Customers (and identify bad ones before they start!)
  • How to write SOPs: We use Snagit to record Screen caps and put them in the process document
  • Removing yourself from the business
    • Get better every month
    • ensure that you’re providing value > cost of support team
    • Do only what you HAVE to, not what’s CONVENIENT in the moment
    • Build in accountability into your team
  • Automatic Delegation
    • Rules in place for when/how to delegate
    • Give the team power
    • Periodic check-in

If I were starting from scratch today

  • Begin with your target pricing from the start (aspirational pricing)
  • Everyone goes on the same plans (no exceptions)
  • Have a service you can fulfill yourself – don’t be dependent on the customer
  • Document and Delegate, Early and Often
  • Structure for >50% margin from the beginning
  • Secondary Market
    • “Typically service based sites sell around 2x net profit, but we have seen them go higher if they have solid brand recognition or a long history of success.”
  • Productized Services can be just the beginning
    • Leadfuze – now Course and SaaS
    • AudienceOps – now WordPress plugins, course, and SaaS
    • Elastic Sales/ – On-demand sales team turned CRM
    • PodcastMotor – WordPress theme/plugins, course, and SaaS

The Future of PodcastMotor

  • Diversifying our offerings
    • Productized Services
    • Information Products
    • WordPress plugins and themes
  • Surrounding the problem
    • Businesses – Concierge Service
    • New Podcasters – Startup Package, hosting, course
    • Existing Podcasters – Ongoing Production Support
    • DIY Podcasters – WP products, hosting, course

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About Christoph

Christoph lives in Munich, Germany and is bootstrapping his own SaaS application as a part-time entrepreneur.

He likes to write on this blog about anything of relevance to single-founder bootstrapped software startups.


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