Building in public not only kept him accountable but generated help from the community. He got valuable advice and feedback from experienced entrepreneurs. It’s also a great way to build an audience.
Show up every day for two years It takes a lot of time to build anything substantial. ConvertKit now makes over $2m per month, but at the end of two years, they were only making about $3k per month.
Do things that don’t scale Nathan decided to migrate users to ConvertKit from their existing platforms for free. The migration process sometimes took up to 8 hours. At the time, he was charging $50/month. This was and still is a key component of their rapid growth.
“You have to do things that don’t scale in the early days because that is how you build momentum and get compound returns.”
Choose Yourself No one is going to choose you to do interesting things. You need to choose yourself. For example, if you gather people together in a conference or event, you are the one in charge. You get that credibility because you claim it yourself.
Start Small The first version of ConvertKit was just a landing page builder with an autoresponder. It couldn’t do broadcast messages.
Customer Funded Nathan funded the business with sales so that he could talk to customers along the way. It is critical to get this feedback early on.
You Have to Focus Nathan gives the example of a friend that was making tens of thousands of dollars with many affiliate sites. Another friend was focused on a single site and continually building backlinks and content. Years later, that website, BodyBuilding.com started by Ryan Deluca, sold for $100 million.
This is what Nathan’s friend said, “I was making far more money than Ryan was but Ryan was plugging away at this one thing to build it into a real brand and a real company rather than just chasing dollars where it was most convenient.”
Direct Sales is Critical “Selling early-stage software through content marketing is near impossible. The turning point was going all-in on direct sales. You have to do anything possible to get the customer.”