In this episode of the App Business Podcast, Chris interviews Dan Norris, the founder of WP Curve and author of the new book, The 7 Day Startup.
Listen in as Dan shares his experience as an entrepreneur, how he manage to succeed despite previous failures and how you can get into the same position using the same principles that Dan used.
- Dan’s background – had his own web design agency for 7 years
- Software as a service with recurring revenue – why it is the ultimate business
- WP Curve – Service as a service
- Adding more value to existing clients
- Ups and downs of a business
- Getting a co-founder or a team
- Reason why Dan wrote the 7 Day Startup and why you should read it.
- The most important message you will learn from the book
- Execute as fast as possible and get to success quicker
- Why you don’t need to be perfect at first
- Dan’s thoughts on outsourcing
Resources and links mentioned:
- Get your free copy of the The 7 Day Startup (free this week only)
- WP Curve Blog
- Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You by Joh Warrillow
- Josh from Baremetrics
- Rainmaker Platform
- The 7 Day Startup Resources
- Send Dan Norris a tweet
Chris: Hi and welcome to another episode of the App Business Podcast. This is Chris Chidgey. No David today because it is like three in the morning in Munich. But we have a guest and that’s the reason why it’s a late recording. We have Dan Norris from WP Curve. And we’ve mentioned this actually, WordPress Curve or wpcurve.com in our Friday episode about how we outsource everything including the management of our website and we had forgotten to mention that. But Dan just released or is releasing a new book and it’s kind of a new thing for him. Well let me introduce you Dan, welcome to the show.
Dan: Hi Chris. Thanks for having me.
Chris: Yeah. So this is your first book?
Chris: Yeah. So it’s not like this is something where he pumps out a book every month. And so it’s called the 7 Day Startup. And because we’re a client or a customer of wpcurve.com, WP Curve, there were something in one of the emails that said hey, got a book, check it out. Comes out Monday in the US or globally, our timezone. But here’s the pdf and check it out. And it’s 200 pages, I read through it pretty quickly and it is hilarious. And I think it’s gonna get a lot, I think it’s perfect for the audience of this podcast. I kinda think you write like I speak sometimes. Like where it’s this very very to the point and blunt and like I understand, I understand, I understand but do it this way anyways. And so I’m just gonna jump right in. Well how about this, how was I gonna introduce you before I just jump right into the book?
Dan: No. I mean that sounds quite good. I’ve done.. I guess in terms of my background I worked as a.. I had my own web design agency for a little while. A little while being 7 years. And then I tried to create a software app that failed and WP Curve is going quite well and we started that at for 9 months. And we launched it very quickly out of sort of desperation. So that sort of what inspired the idea for the book and I’ve been creating lots and lots of content. I’ve just never sort of done enough and being patient enough and structured enough to put it into a book format. So that’s what this book is.
Chris: Yeah and there’s something about it being semi-final that lends itself to obsession and over editing all these kinds of things. So I can see how that would.. Yeah you’re kind of known or like people have reference like oh you put out content like crazy. Like you produce content. It might even been in the book that you’re like known for pumping out content – meaning like blog posts and stuff like that podcast episodes and things like that. But yes so I guess on the agency real quick. You’re in Australia. Was it just a local agency? You’re trying to get local businesses?
Dan: Yeah that’s right. And that’s part of sort of what I talked about in the book in that if you wanna build a business that grows then it’s quite how to do that when you’re just servicing a very small market and you’re doing it in a way that’s sort of fundamentally unprofitable.
Chris: Right. It’s funny because the book called Built To Sell actually used the design agency. Yours is a little bit different but the same kind of model as their kind of example business to build to sell. But it’s still the most beautiful business in the world is software as a service with recurring revenue. I mean that is like the most beautiful business you can build.
Dan: Except if you don’t have the revenue.
Chris: Yeah you need customers, right?
Dan: Unfortunately for a lot of people who tried to build software as a service businesses including myself. We don’t get the customers because it’s..because a lot of the reasons I talked about in the book which is (1) is it’s a very hard business to launch quickly. And if you don’t launch something quickly, you start making decisions based on a whole bunch of stuff and you don’t give enough kind of credence to what customers are dealing. And services are much easier to launch quickly. Service is generally pretty competitive and pretty complex to release a software product like I’m sure you talk about this stuff with your apps.
It’s gotten to the point where you need to execute everything so well for to even just pass, even just to get any small amount of attention that it’s really quite challenging. But I do agree that if you can get the software as a service business working, then it is the ultimate business because it’s all the features of a high growth business. It’s got high margins and potentially a higher market and it’s got a sort of you’re building an asset at the same time, so you’re kind of building competitors out of your reach in a way because you’re building something that they don’t have. So it’s got all those criteria of a really good high growth business.
Chris: And it’s got the barrier to entry but that also has the risk factor. And you know that’s worth mentioning here is the book is really not for third and fourth time entrepreneurs. Someone that’s already you know like the point you made in the book. But if you’ve already sold a couple of businesses, then you can take on more risks. But a lot of times for new entrepreneurs, it’s hard to even identify the risk. It’s hard to identify where the things that are hard to achieve are. And you nailed this. Software as a service does have. It is super awesome because it’s like you built it once and you keep investing it. But there’s a really big upfront cost and it’s really easy to get wrong. And I think that’s kind of what you hammered home a million times. And your Inform.ly points or discussion in the book was look I thought I was doing it all the right ways and I still ended up with something that no one wanted. Kind of right?
Dan: Yeah and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a huge upfront expense. I think if you, I do have examples in the book like Josh from Baremetrics where he was able to build it, a very simple version of Baremetrics in a week. And from there, he was able to pay attention to how people using it and he didn’t stuck around with Freemium, he just charge people and charge in a reasonable amount and then just listen to them and gradually build momentum from thee and was able to turn that into a really nice growing business very quickly. So I think he can do it first for certain types of things but it’s definitely one of the harder types of businesses to start quickly.
Chris: So what would you call WP Curve? Service as a service?
Dan: Yeah. I sort of call it service as a service. Silly as that sounds but I think it’s..the difference between services and a monthly recurring service and in the book I run through five different factors for business growth. One of them is recurring or predictable revenue and with a typical sort of agency, that’s a service but it’s got a really inconsistent revenue and if you can build a recurring service, then everything becomes much easier. I mean if you know that next month you’re going to make the same amount as this month plus 10%, then you know you can do a whole bunch of stuff that other businesses can’t do including preparing for that growth, hiring people for that growth, spending money on marketing to keep that growth going or whatever the case is. Taking a little bit more risk because you know that you just gonna have a bit more money next month anyway. So you get access to a whole bunch of tools that you don’t have in a normal service as business and that gives you a huge advantage.
Chris: Yeah an agency is selling an awful lot and asking for referrals and all that kind of stuff and that’s time that you could be spending making the product better.
Dan: Yeah and you might not be good at that and that’s sort of part of what I talked about in there as well.
Chris: And you were saying you were that guy that’s not good at that which kind of surprise me because being such a person who pumps out so much content, I would think that your personality would be one that would be like I’m out there, I’m ready to be out there. Why would you describe yourself as not out of the house, not out of the what is it that’s called, leave the building, not out of the building type of guy.
Dan: A few reasons. One, I’m actually pretty shy in person. And I don’t really like going out. Actually I just presented on the weekend about the 7 Day Startup of WordCamp Sydney and that’s the first time I presented at a conference. It’s not like the sort of thing that comes naturally.
Chris: Yeah okay.
Dan: But the other reason is I get very bored doing the same thing twice. So the reason I can pump out a lot of content is because I was right about something different. Or if I do a podcast interview, I can talk about something different or go on a different show and have a sort of a different angle. But when my job consists of going out and meeting people in coffee shops and trying to sell them on a new website, I got so bored that I just absolutely hated doing it. And I know some people love that like my business partner loves that kind of going out and chatting to people and building relationships. But I just prefer to create a bunch of stuff and put it out there for people who really want it.
Chris: Yeah I think I’m a mix like I don’t have any problem speaking at conferences and stuff like that or anything like that. But you know it’s almost like your either a sales person or you’re not. I’m not. I just don’t enjoy that. I just feel like it’s a little bit fake and cheesy. And I don’t like bs’ing for no..just to like make it comfortable. I’m just not into it. I’d rather just get down to business and that doesn’t work well in sales often.
Dan: Yeah I’m the same. And I really don’t like the price conversation. And I think if you’re an agency, you really need to be good at getting the most amount of money out of each project. Whereas I just don’t think like that. I just think about giving people the most amount of value and that got me into all sorts of trouble as in an agency where with this business we just set the price at a reasonable level and not enough to think about and I can just get on with creating value and that’s something that suits me well.
Chris: Yeah a couple of things that you do with WP Curve that I really like is you sent out..I don’t wanna overcommit you or oversell you guys but it’s something like maybe once every couple of weeks there’s a proactive email like hey let us do this for you. Let us speed up your website or let us backup your website or actually that’s a recurring thing that you do already. But you have a couple..I mean several things that you have lined up that go out to your clients to as like proactive “hey just coz you’re not calling us to change the font” or add a new style of page. You’ve got other stuff going on which is really really cool I think.
Dan: Yeah. We actually do two things. One is we’ve got one email a week where we send a recommendation. And the other thing we do is if people have requested a job in a set amount of time, we will have a look at their side and actually make a suggestion for them. But that’s the kind of stuff I like. I’m not satisfied the way doing a good enough job but that I’ve constantly try to figure out how to give more value to people and make sure they stay longer and refer people. And that’s the kind of problems I enjoy solving as opposed to going out and kind of selling another new website project.
Chris: Yeah how awesome is it that it’s working and you get to keep like I mean literally you get to find ways to add more value to your existing clients. That’s kind of like a dream scenario. It’s way better than over delivering on a website or trying to give the people and informing what they want. You got it pretty stoked with where you are right now, yeah?
Dan: Yeah. I mean almost the exact position that I wanted to be and when I sold my agency two years ago. I just kind of went through hell to get there. So I guess the point of the book is to hopefully help other people get to the same position without having to go through hell in the first place.
Chris: Yeah I think you even do some things where you break down the business models and you say like pros and cons for each type of business model. And you do some other really cool things that I haven’t seen in other books. And I read a lot of this kinds of books is you break down like evaluating business models. I think it was business models. But you evaluate..one of the days you spend taking a look at what you’d be doing for the day and deciding if that’s really what you wanna do. I mean you’re better at stuff you like and you’re probably gonna be enjoyed doing it of course more. Why not build a business to your strengths type of thing. But you break it down to your daily activities which I thought was a really interesting way to evaluate a business model.
Dan: Yeah that’s quite simple. I mean I’ve started businesses in the past where that had me doing things that I just hated. And if I had thought of that before I did the business, I would have just not put myself in that position. And I think sometimes you kind of well you know like I’ll just do that for a little while and then I’ll pay someone to do it. But a lot of the time there’s just not enough profitability there to do that so you finally start doing this work that you don’t enjoy and you just get the point where you think yourself like I could actually be working for somebody else doing the sort of work I’m really good at and being rewarded. Probably getting paid a lot more. So yeah you wanna avoid that situation and in the book I got 39 different features of a smart kind of idea for a self funded entrepreneur And that’s the first one because it’s just not easy being an entrepreneur and you really need to make sure that whatever you’re spending your time on during the day is something that you really enjoy and ideally something that you could out of the way you can get good at.
Chris: Yeah. It’s a little bit I think you might use this in the book but it’s kind of like a known thing. It’s like people say they wanna be authors but they don’t enjoy writing books. And it’s kind of like that with entrepreneurs where it’s like yeah you wanna be an entrepreneur, you want the freedom, you wanna build your own business, but then it’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of ups and downs. And here you are Dan, you had an agency for 7 years and realized oh that’s not the right thing. And then you built Inform.ly the right way and it didn’t work. I mean just a lot of ups and downs and it’s just not… I still wouldn’t trade it for anything. But it’s just not all beautiful rose stories like we sometimes read about.
Dan: No, not at all. And I think there’s probably a few things you can do to help. And I think I probably talk about this a little bit in the book but getting a co-founder or a team is being huge for me. You know with that it just means a co-host on your podcast or whether it means a partner in your business or working with people on projects is maybe another way. But for me, just having someone else whose just as committed to the business as I am is being huge. And I think if you get a go, that is entrepreneurship route then you gotta think about that sort of stuff. I’m also working in a co-working space which has made a huge difference and I’m starting to get along to more conferences and do my content that way rather than on the blog. I mean it’s just kind of nice sometimes to get out and talk to people and kind of feel like you’re not just living in your own little hole by yourself.
Chris: So this is something I pick up on somewhere else. Have you met in person your co-founder?
Dan: No. I still haven’t.
Chris: Yeah. I see that’s why.
Dan: Yeah I was supposed to go over. I’m going to Bangkok in two weeks to present at a Dynamite Circle conference and I was going to go after that but I don’t really like flying and looking at how I was gonna get to the US from there was just an absolute nightmare so I’m gonna go over at some stage. Hopefully towards the end of this year or the start of next year.But yeah, I really should do that soon.
Chris: You know actually I say that, but then David, the co-host on the show. We’re on episode 105 and we’ve never met in person. So it’s not super uncommon. I probably should have mentioned this at the top, the book is the 7 Day Startup. It’s Sunday night in Bogota. September 28th. I think it’s something like 10 in the morning in Australia?
Dan: Yeah. It will go up in about 8 hours time which will be the first thing here at 29th of September. It’ll be free for a week. So I wanted to make it free full stop but in order for me to put on Amazon, they let me do for a week so hopefully if this goes out next week, then everyone will get a chance to get on there and get it for free.
Chris: Yup. And then I actually held the newsletter coz we’ve got this new website launch we’re doing. Have you heard the Rainmaker? The thing from Copyblogger?
Dan: Yeah there was a lady from Copyblogger I was at this conference and I was talking to her and she actually presented on it and run through it. It looks pretty amazing.
Chris: Dude I moved everything to it. And that’s why I’ve been working on this week and I actually help up our weekly newsletter which goes out on Saturdays for a Monday so I could announce the new website and not have it like have all the buttons work and everything. So we’ll actually send a link to the 7 Day Startup tomorrow in our newsletter. So for the listeners who aren’t on the newsletter list, go sign up for the newsletter list or then of course you can go to Amazon 7 Day Startup. I was gonna ask you why the book? In fact, it still holds. Why the book?
Dan: Sorry, what do you mean?
Chris: Why write the book?
Dan: Oh okay. Well I mean I love creating content and I just I’m sort of hoping with the book I’ll get it at to a little bit of a different audience. And that’s sort of part of what I’m doing a bit of conference talking and things because I’ve got sort of a core audience on my blog that reads my posts and things. But I sort of feel like the book, if it goes well, there’s a chance I’ll get it to a whole new audience. So I hope that happens. If it doesn’t happen, it was a very very long process. It was very long to write but it was a huge process to edit and format and it was a lot of work. So if I don’t get it out to a sort of a big new audience, then I probably won’t right another one. That’s the main reason.
Chris: Yeah customer acquisition is the idea then.
Dan: Not really. I mean I don’t think were gonna get a huge amount of customers out of doing a book. Yeah our content doesn’t really.. it doesn’t really work like that like content marketing. To me I see it more as like a brain and building thing. So we’ll get out there, we’ll mention our brand. The few people who hear about us maybe people will refer us. But it’s not lead generation. I don’t think someone’s gonna buy the book and then sign up for WP Curve. I mean this is what I just enjoy doing. So that’s a really..I just do it because I enjoy doing it. That’s the reason I do it.
Chris: Yeah. I have a book that I wrote in Bali after last year’s DC event. Coz I went to Bali after Bangkok. And I just.. it was really hot during the days and my chick wasn’t there with me. And it was just like, I went to the DC event. I was like one of the only app mobile app guys there and I just answered the same question 50 times. So I said forget it, I was just gonna write all these questions down and answer them in a book and I had nothing to sell. You know there’s nothing going on and I just wanted to get it out there. So yeah..
Dan: Well yeah. I think my co-founder sort of encourage me to write a book. I guess because I write so much content on the blog and it’s not really a format that suits me coz I’m a bit impatient and I really like pressing publish. And I don’t like writing something and holding it back for months and months. I’d just sort of have avoided it for that reason, but yeah hopefully it’ll be a good way to package up a lot of ideas and help a bunch of new people.
Chris: Yeah I think for sure.. well I think it’ll even help people who are currently maybe wantrepreneurs, entrepreneurs…like first time entrepreneurs as well. Like help them get past some of the resistance that they put in front of themselves for not really a real reason. Like there’s no reason to.. like you really break it down it’s almost like a parent talking to their kids sometimes. And it’s not condescending. It’s like okay I understand why you don’t wanna eat the vegetables. Now eat the vegetables. Okay I understand why you think you need to do this survey and you need to spend three days on the logo. And the name is worth obsessing about. But you don’t and here’s why and now go do it.
Chris: And the format is here’s the project and you have one day. And yes the idea is critical and it’s super important. Then you like go on to this whole thing about how you can’t build. Even if you execute like a madman, if the idea is crappy then nothing’s gonna happen. And then at the end of it like okay so you have one idea which I think is awesome.
Dan: Yeah well I mean I think there’s a lot of ways to go about building a company. But the most important message from the book is you don’t learn until you launch.
Dan: By that I mean you can mess around with all this ideas and I’ve tried to give people all the information they need to come up with a good idea or at least to evaluate that kind of ideas and to do that quickly and to build a site in one day and to choose a business name in one day. And I’ve given every detail they need to get started I think. But at the end of the day, you don’t know what’s going to happen after you launch it or you don’t know what customers are going to sign up. You don’t know which ones are gonna stay and whether they’re gonna refer people. And if they do refer people, what words they’re going to use. What are the aspects about what you’re selling that really resonate with people. You just kind of predict that stuff. I know people kind of suggest this blueprints for this sort of thing but in my experience, you cannot predict it. And you don’t learn that stuff until after you launch. And therefore, the smartest thing to do is to launch as quickly as possible and then gradually build a business over time. And I think it’s… I’ve had this ideas for quite a while but it’s sort of a good timing that our business is going quite well coz people probably wouldn’t listen to me if I didn’t have some credibility there. So it’s nice too.
Chris: And that’s a trap I think a lot of people get into is they read a lot and they understand what they’re reading and there’s lots of models and it proven and all the big time guys are saying it. And you know I joined DC right about the time where you were launching Inform.ly or maybe it was near the end of it, I don’t know. Somehow where I caught that, you were saying..you shared how people said this is the greatest tool ever and they didn’t become a buying customer. Or some of the people that were buying customers never log in and different things like that. Inform.ly was like a dashboard if you will. Like customized dashboards, right?
Dan: For analytics, yeah.
Chris: Yeah, yeah. And so it’s another one of this things were yeah I mean like you can read all you want about things but experience is the greatest teacher by far. And it’s not only.. you know just because it applies to Dan Norris doesn’t mean it’s gonna apply to Chris Chidgey. It’s like every business is different and so like you were saying, it’s not just like a cookie cutter formula thing at that level. Maybe as you get out more, it becomes like it follows larger trends. I mean it’s almost like the book is..fail as fast as possible so you can move on to the next thing. It’s not that..
Dan: I think execute as fast as possible. I don’t like fail fast. I much prefer succeed fast.
Chris: Okay, fair enough. Me too.
Dan: My point is, execute fast and then whatever happens next, you can make good decisions whether you succeed or fail. Hopefully you succeed and that’s great. But if you fail, you can make another good decision. Executes as fast and hopefully get to success quicker. And I know I’m not the first person to say it, but I think I’d read books like the Lean Startup before but I think that they really don’t apply too well to bootstrap as in sort of first time entrepreneurs. It’s a lot of high level theoretical stuff and a lot of sort of pivoting and dart around analytics and stuff that’s really… it really kind of assumes that the founder has little to do rather than sit back and twist knobs. And the bootstrap company it’s just not that complicated. Oh sorry..not that simple.
You are a founder and you are unique and what works for you is gonna be totally different than what works for someone else. So I think what that audience needs is something really specific to them and I’ve tried to go into like the level of detail you mentioned with people. The comments I got about Inform.ly, I’ve included those comments word for word in there and gone to that level of detail so people can really see exactly what happened. And so hopefully that’s enough for them to be convinced that this is something that can apply to them as well.
Chris: Yeah I so much want to challenge someone to do like okay we’re gonna execute a business a month. Well hopefully it won’t be coz hopefully it’ll work. But I’d love to like chronicle the.. or you know it doesn’t have to be a month. It should be 7 days, but the idea would be to do four a month. But you know once a month, do the 7 day challenge and see how much traction we get or something like that. I don’t wanna make it sound like it’s so..I’m making it sound like it’s (what do I call it) like a throw away. Like you only spend 7 days on it and you throw it. It’s not supposed to be like this. I’m not supposed to sound like that. But the idea there is that if you can execute heads down and make a ton of progress in 7 days and start testing the market, I just find that really exciting for people who are always seemingly finding solutions to problems but don’t know how to take the next step.
Dan: Yeah well I’ve got a #7daystartup on Twitter. Hopefully people are going to follow the book and actually launch something then they can tag me. I’m @thedannorris on Twitter and the #7daystartup and I’ll keep an eye on those things. But I think the important point to know is I don’t think you would know after 7 days whether your business is successful or unsuccessful. But what you will be able to do is start talking to people who are paying you money. And that’s going to help you make it successful. Or find out very quickly that there’s something fundamentally wrong with your idea or with the way your marketing it or the fit between you and the idea or whatever. But I think like a.. I don’t really think in terms of launches. Even since WP Curve, we’ve launched a community that got much more traction that WP Curve in the first week and 2 months later it was shut down. So I didn’t like to think of launches in that you do something for 7 days and then you finish, but I do like the idea of getting to a position where you can talk to people who are paying you as quickly as possible so you can make decisions on that rather than make decisions base on your own with wonderful ideas or whatever entrepreneurs are telling you.
Chris: Yeah or what your potential clients are telling you and all this kinds of stuff.
Dan: Yeah potential clients, aren’t clients.
Chris: Right, right. Yeah that Inform.ly, that Inform.ly experience seems like it really spurred like this next or maybe already had it but this attitude of look I’m just gonna get what I think is out there. It just really seemed to hammer home, execute, execute, execute. Execute like a madman. And it comes off, comes out in the book and it’s really cool coz it’s like you just aren’t taking any craft from anyone. It’s like no, this is.. yes it’s super important. Okay, next. Like you’re just not allowing for things to just drag on. And I think I emailed you this, or I posted this on the Facebook group or something where you say..I’m gonna give way all the best parts of the book but..
Dan: It’s still free anyway.
Chris: Yeah something like if you have, if you’re talking to your buddies about an idea this month and next month you’re talking about the same idea, you’re a wantrepreneur. And I just really like that…I don’t wanna call it easy..I’m using this words like disposable and easy coz it’s not that. But were in amazing time for entrepreneurs. And there’s so much you can do without a lot of expense that if you really think to an idea you were talking to your buddies about, you could have already done that in that 30 days. And that’s what makes you wantrepreneur. And your book is kind of that roadmap or not kind of. Your book is that roadmap for “don’t be that guy”. Here’s how not to be that guy.
Dan: Yeah. And I think, I think before you are an entrepreneur…the kind of stuff that entrepreneurs talk about is not the kind of stuff that people who don’t have businesses talk about. Because once you have a business, you talk about what you’re actually doing for your customers in that business. But before you have business, you think business is all about ideas. So I think if I can successfully get people from that stage into actually having a business and then actually realizing that no there’s actually a whole lot more to this than just coming up with a great idea and then hopefully I’ve done my job. And if I can get them to do it in 7 days and use the hashtag and kind of.. if this book pushes them to execute on something that they’ve been messing around with, then I’ll be very happy.
Chris: Yeah. So if you’re a listener of this show and you haven’t started an app company yet or you haven’t got your first app out yet or whatever. Or even if you have. Like if you’re not where you wanna be, I would absolutely..when you listen to this, go to Amazon, get this book. And it’s not even a mobile app, but that’s why I think it’s so good for this audience. We talked a lot about on this show where the idea is 10% of it and execution is 90% if it or something like that. And one thing that comes up a lot for early mobile app developers is they always want to get their developers to sign an NDA, you know. And it’s like you can, but what you’re gonna do if your Indian developer you hired on Odesk steals your idea. You know like you’re gonna go chase them down in Mumbai..you know it’s just not practical. One of those things where if you can just help them understand. Look you can move past that. Go to the next step and the next step. I think people who have been through a couple of times recognize when there’s real barriers, there are real challenges and when there’s not. I think your book does a really good job of saying, look this isn’t an issue, you can change this. Google’s first name was..what was it?
Chris: Backrub. Yeah Backrub. And they changed it and they’re Google. And Apple was The Farm that Jobs dropped acid on. Like different things like that where it doesn’t need to be so.. it’s not as heavy. You know what’s heavy? It is your customers are not getting any. You know the name..
Dan: Yeah. You don’t need to perfect all and this stuff. Our business is a perfect example. We change names as well. It was a different name when we first launched. And then Alex didn’t liked it and then I really didn’t like it either. I just have to launch it quickly. So we changed it and took about 3 hours.
Chris: Right, right.
Dan: It’s not really that big a deal.
Chris: Yeah I love it man. I had a couple more questions. Were up at like 30 minutes. I wanted to ask you if the main.. coz you’re a family man. You have a family and you’re an entrepreneur where it’s like a double scary thing. I think in the book you said something along the lines of that you launch Inform.ly, it wasn’t doing great, you invested some of the money that you made from selling your agency. Okay so you were up against it right? Like you were up to “I’m gonna have to get a job in 3 weeks if..” I mean like that, right?
Dan: Yeah, two weeks yeah. And that’s kind of what’s bear this on. It was really quite a desperate situation. And again, it doesn’t have to be that for everyone if they don’t make the same mistakes. But at the same time they can still use the same principles that I used which is really just to focus as much as you can on getting to launch as quickly as you can and that will have different reasons. They will do it because they know it’s a smart thing to do and not did it because I had to do it. But whatever the reason, I was able to get customers quickly. And then from there, we were able to..almost unvalidate all of the sort of wrong assumptions that we had before we launch and start listening to customers and building a service around what they wanted.
Chris: You know another thing I should clarify for the listeners is you know I talked guys a lot about hiring an outsourcing and not doing and trying to do everything. Dan doesn’t mention outsourcing once in the first 7 days. Maybe he talks about a little bit where I don’t know..was there even something that you’d outsource? Like logo design or something?
Dan: Well it depends on what you consider outsourcing. No I definitely didn’t get a logo designed. I got a theme and I’ve done this without a business. I have done it myself or I’ve got a theme of elegant themes on theme forests to put that up. I mean, I’ve got other business that I’ve launched with themes on Theme Forest that looked great and much better than custom designed stuff. So I think you can do that stuff very quickly, that’s why you could consider that outsourcing but it’s more of just like external services and products.
Chris: Yeah so the first 7 days, it doesn’t acquire any of that kind of stuff. So it’s not like the normal risk..you know positioning where I say okay get a VA to do this, hire a bookkeeper first thing. It’s not.. Dan’s even going way earlier in the net and saying like look you don’t need to hire anyone. So it’s not..it’s even it’s totally do it yourself type of stuff. And I mean there’s even walkthroughs of okay here’s how you load a plugin, here’s the plugin to use on your site. That should take you 30 minutes..da..da..da. So I mean I don’t wanna call it dummy proof, but it really is taking away a lot of excuses.
Dan: Hopefully. I mean I don’t know if my thinking on this is gonna be different to what your message is on the show but I think one thing that I want people to avoid is that premature optimization or over-optimization. You become like someone whose so obsessed with perfecting everything that you forget about the problems you actually had and I think getting VA’s and systematizing everything is solving a problem that new entrepreneurs do not have.
Dan: New entrepreneurs should be working in their business and they should be talking to their customers directly I believe. And when you get to the point where you’re scaling and you have to exit yourself out of the business, well not out of the business but out of the day to day you have to get other people to do some of that work, then (a) you should plan for that so you should know that type of work and something you can hire for. But you shouldn’t get that done until you have to..until it becomes a problem. And 99% of problems that bootstrappers face can be solve very very quickly and you don’t need to pretty solve them.
Chris: Yeah totally agree. In fact, we just had an episode like that where it’s like here’s what not to outsource. And so I was getting questions from some of the listeners like hey should I outsource the research and evaluation of app ideas? I was like no, no, no. Should I research? Should I outsource the retention mechanics? These are the things that maybe not make sense coz you’re not an app guy or mobile app guy but it was just like no, no, no, you almost never wanna pass that. That’s your job. That’s the job of the owner of the app company. So there is a lot of confusion on this stuff but that’s a good reminder for folks listening is it doesn’t need to be perfect, in fact it’s better if it’s not. Coz what are you optimizing for? You don’t even know what you’re optimizing for yet. You’re still moving to things around trying to solve your customers problems and there’s nothing to optimize really yet.
Dan: Yeah yeah.
Chris: Wpcurve.com. That’s basically get a WordPress site and get it up. They’re not designing it for you but didn’t want to have your WordPress site up and you wanna hey I need a new thing on my header or I need to remove the author thing. Actually Dan, you can come up with better examples. What are some of the more common tasks that you guys do?
Dan: Yeah I mean those are sort of the more, like the small tweaks that some of them wanna make or they might be..like a lot of it is bug fixing. Like something doesn’t look right or something clashed or sort of plugin. Some of it is advice like what plugin should I install if I want a community? What plugin should I use for SEO and if I do have SEO, what plugins do I have to optimize that plugin, setting up analytics, all that kind of stuff. Anything that can be done in less than 30 minutes is covered. And we charged $99 a month for the full. That’s the most we charge the moment for the full professional version where we do upgrades and backups and my free advice and everything and unlimited jobs.
Chris: Yeah that’s crazy.
Dan: For this audience, you know that may or may not be suitable but hopefully the book is useful and the content. The content, we have up on our blog is not like, most of it is not like how to have a decent WordPress. Most of it is how be an entrepreneur and all the stuff we’ve learned building this business and we put our income and our lessons learned in the book and everything up there. So I think our blog is probably a good place to start for your audience which is just wpcurve.com/blog.
Chris: Nice, nice. Yeah and again we are clients. And for those you guys who have launching pages out there for your apps and maybe you have it all hosted on one place, it’s something that I use. I know a lot of podcaster use them because they don’t wanna be dealing..you know the website isn’t like their main thing, it’s the podcast. Like I think Dumas uses you guys..
Chris: Yeah there’s a handful. I mean it just makes so much sense to..you could either have someone you found on Odesk to go and give them odd jobs or you can send an email everyday if you went to Dan or not to Dan. But you know to support at and they’ll do it for you. So it’s a really great service. I think you’re right man. If you didn’t have WP Curve working, it’ll be harder to listen to the ideas in the book. But I think the ideas in the book are still solid, maybe they could have make it anyways. But it certainly helps that WP Curve is doing well. And yeah you even provided a chart of like here’s my tracking that I do with my partner coz I wanted to make at least 40,000 a month and now we’re making a 100 each or something like that so..it’s like super..a lot of transparent stuff. It’ll answer a lot of questions if you’re a new entrepreneur or if you’re just curious like me. I love reading this stuff. So go check out the book. What else Dan? Were almost at 40 minutes. What else did I miss?
Dan: Yeah that sounds good. I’ve put up a resources page. Hopefully when this goes out up, it’ll be updated. But if people got the wpcurve.com/7daystartup. You can click through the Amazon to get the book, but then in addition to that on that page, I’ve got a quotes page which has some of the things you’ve mentioned today as like click to tweet. Quotable type things and I’ve got a resources page which has every link that’s in the book. All of the downloadable spreadsheets and pdf’s and that’s all freely available. No email opt in, you can just go there and download and check it all out for free. So hopefuly that’s useful to people listening.
Chris: Yeah. Well I’ll be curious what the listeners think. A lot of them, we have a fairly decent size Facebook groups. So we’ll be talking about in there. And yeah really appreciate you coming by. I’m excited on short noticed and kind of on launch day that we were able to connect and on a Sunday for me. But yeah thanks again. Look forward to seeing what happens dude. You know this book things could be like take off like crazy or could just be like okay I wrote a book. But either way it’s cool and wish you a lot of success with it and appreciate you coming on.
Dan: Oh yeah, thanks so much for having me. I mean if you want me to come in to the Facebook group and answer questions or answer questions on your site or whatever then feel free to let me know. Otherwise, people can send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris: Awesome. Alright Dan, appreciate it. Thanks guys. We’ll see you guys on the next app business podcast.
Dan: Alright, thanks Chris.