Entrepreneurship Journal, 11/13/2017

In the last few months the following things have happened:

  1. I decided to put Angular on Rails on the back burner
  2. I started a new project called Landing Page Breakdowns
  3. I killed Landing Page Breakdowns and started a project called AWS for Rails Developers
  4. I killed AWS for Rails Developers and started trying to do Shopify consulting
  5. I decided not to try to do Shopify consulting anymore and decided to start a new website that teaches job search skills to developers

Here’s how the last thing happened. Some time after I decided to try to do some Shopify consulting, I realized how hard it was to get clients, or at least the right kind of clients. I also didn’t like the starting-over feeling of moving into Shopify consulting. It became apparently to me a little while after getting into the Shopify thing that it would take me quite a while to gain a level of genuine competence. To a certain extent I’m okay with a business idea that takes a long time to build but I’m not okay with an experiment that takes a long time to build.

Based on when I wrote the blog post about it, it looks like my decision to put Angular on Rails on the back burner came around July 2017. Then I spent July, August, September and October experimenting with various other business ideas, none of which ended up seeming very promising.

After all that time and effort and disappointment I asked myself, “Rather than trying to start a new thing from scratch, why don’t I just go back to the thing that was already working and make it work better?” Angular on Rails isn’t perfect but it does have revenue. And as of August through October 2017 it was even back to the $300-$400/mo it was doing around December 2016 to March 2017 (before it dipped sharply in June and July).

So I took a fresh look at Angular on Rails and even made a concrete list of things I might do to move the needle. One thing I wanted to think about was this: I have a $49 product and a $99 product. Is there anything I could create that would be worth, say, $499? Because it would sure be a lot easier to grow the business’s revenue that way than by just trying to increase volume.

In pondering this question I recalled that a good portion of the people who signed up for the Angular on Rails mailing list did so because they wanted to build side projects. I wondered if a large percentage of these side-project-builders were doing so because they wanted to try to get a better job. So I emailed my list of about 2,100 people and asked.

The response was somewhat overwhelming. Over 50 people responded, almost all of them with a yes. So I thought, it looks like there’s something here.

And then I thought: I could add a new product onto my Angular on Rails product ladder, or I could start a whole new product ladder. I decided that creating a whole new product ladder would make the most long-term sense. This decision was partially driven by the fact that a lot of the people who responded to my “Are you trying to get a new job?” email said that they were no longer interested in the Angular + Rails combo. There’s no reason why the skills of finding a new programming job have to be tied to any particular technology.

The name I came up with for my new endeavor is Six Figure Coding. IIRC I registered the domain on November 7th. By November 8th, I had set up a WordPress site (using WP Engine) and then I used Leadpages to connect my site with Drip, allowing people to subscribe to an email list. At midday on November 8th I emailed my Angular on Rails list and let them know that Six Figure Coding was open for business. I also tweeted about it and put a link on Facebook.

I would have been satisfied with 20 or so subscribers. I remember that I immediately got about 8 subscribers. Then later the number crept up to the mid-20s. Then the number passed 32, making it the second-biggest email list I’ve built after Angular on Rails. By the time I closed my computer for the day around 8pm, I had 67 subscribers. When I opened my computer the next day, I had 86 subscribers. By the end of that day, I had over 100 subscribers. Today I have 115. My expectations have been greatly exceeded.

At a high level, my plan is to come up with a product ladder with products at $0, $29-49, $99 and $299+. I plan to immediately sell access to a paid Slack org and see how that goes. I actually have that launch scheduled for Friday, November 17.

My plan for getting traffic early on mostly revolves around doing podcast interviews and guest posts.

I’ll of course continue to post updates here like always.

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