Entrepreneurship Journal, 6/3/2016

In my last update I shared that I was officially embarking on my seventh attempt at a product business. My plan was/is to monetize AngularOnRails.com by offering courses there.

As of April I had about 260 people on my AngularOnRails.com email list, I believe. I developed a few different plans and scrapped each in succession in favor of a better one. Where I landed at one point was this:

  • Put up a sales page for an e-book (that won’t exist yet) called “A Beginner’s Guide to CRUD in Angular and Rails” (or something similarly titled)
  • Perform a two-week launch process culminating in a 48-hour purchase window
  • If enough people buy, write the book and deliver it

In order for this plan to work, I decided I should have about an 80/20 mix of helping/pitching. Because I’m learning Angular as I go, the blog posts I write require a lot of research and exploratory development. So I haven’t had much in the “helping” category to share, although some.

I’m glad I write these posts because articulating this stuff is helping me realize that I could really stand to get more specific about my plans. There’s no reason I can’t decide that my launch sequence will include X “provide value” emails and Y “pitch” emails, and then work backward from those numbers to figure out how many tech posts I need to come up with, and then queue up that many tech posts. That’s a much better idea than what I’ve been doing so far, which is to put out a tech post whenever.

As time passed I noticed a certain problem with the site. One of the site’s main jobs is to be collecting emails for my list. The problem was that I couldn’t figure out an opt-in form that would convert at more than 0.5%. Every time I emailed my list with a new post, a few people would naturally unsubscribe, and so I was losing people at a faster rate than I was gaining them. That’s no way to be.

Since the opt-in problem certainly needs to be solved at some point, and time is just burning while people are not signing up, it probably makes sense to prioritize fixing the opt-in problem first. I had an idea to kill the opt-in popup thing and instead put up a squeeze page for a “learn Angular 2 mini-course” or something. But then something unexpected happened.

I’ve been talking with some training companies about doing some Angular training for them. A couple weeks ago I scheduled a “demo presentation” with a certain training company for June 3rd (today). I figured a good way to prepare would be to go through my presentation with some people the day before. I decided just for shits and giggles to toss up a free webinar in case a couple people might want to sign up. It turned out that 24 people signed up for the webinar, which was way beyond my expectations, especially since my webinar “sales page” was comically bad and lazily done. That also of course means that I added 24 new people to my list. I also learned a lot about my audience from the experience. So I think what I’ll do is perform a webinar, say, every few weeks. I’ll put up a squeeze page for the webinar and collect emails that way, which might fix the opt-in problem. Plus after (or during) the webinar, I can pitch other products to these people.

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