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    What I learned at MicroConf Growth 2018

    MicroConf was life changing. A room full of people who Get Itβ„’. A room where you can say, "Holy shit, I made so much money last month,” and people say "Omg, you must be scared shitless that it's a fluke" instead of, "So, going to Bali or Hawaii?

    It's refreshing to talk to Your People in person for once. So much so that I missed my flight home.

    You'd think living in San Francisco would make it easy to find a crowd of entrepreneurs to talk to, but no. You have to fly to Vegas and visit MicroConf.

    In San Francisco, there's a lot of posturing. Everyone's always crushing it. Everyone's killing it. That's how you get VC money. Nobody's gonna invest if you say, "Look dude, we're making sales, but we don't really know why.”

    At MicroConf, it's different. People are bootstrapped. They grow their business on profits. They start from savings or with a sidehustle. They know how it is.

    Million dollar businesses chatting to thousand dollar businesses as equals; sharing numbers. Quite refreshing.

    It's been a week. Here's the good shit that stayed πŸ‘‡πŸ»

    You can make a million dollars with info products

    This was a lesson from the hallway track. I met a guy who made $1,000,000 in revenue last year from a single info product selling at a single price for one-off purchases.

    Amazing. Inspiring. Took him 5 years of being full time. He didn't say how long he worked on it before going full time.

    Nowadays, he has 3 full-time employees, a smattering of freelancers, and worries that he might have to look into a multi-tier pricing structure to sustain growth.

    I'd mention his name, but MicroConf is covered by a FrieNDA, and I don't know if he wants numbers published like this.

    You can have sustainable growth with unsustainable tactics

    This one is from a talk by Teachable founder Ankur Nagpal. They used a curious growth engine to go from $0 to $10,000,000 ARR (annual recurring revenue) in four years.

    Here's how you do it:

    1. You set a growth target, say 30% month over month
    2. You look at where you're at, say $2000
    3. Ok you have to find $600 of revenue this month
    4. Brainstorm some tactics
    5. Do them until you have $2600 that month
    6. The tactic that worked is now your normal process
    7. Repeat next month

    Teachable started with cold email sales as a tactic, used regular webinars for a while, and landed on the idea of online summits. Each tactic worked for a long while, became better as they standardized it, and eventually stopped producing returns.

    This approach stopped working when they reached $500,000 MRR (monthly recurring revenue). They then had to use more traditional approaches like ads and stuff.

    What I like about this is that it sort of validates what I'm already doing: Setting a target then figuring out how to get there. But it's a system. You can grow and optimize a system.

    Ads + free content + nurturing == win

    A short talk from the founder of Jordan Gal who was able to leverage $4000 in ads into $140,000 in ARR with this one weird trick.

    You write a bunch of free stuff like blog posts.

    You tie them together into a story. They used 6 over 6 weeks for the initial experiment.

    You promote the shit out of them on social media with paid ads and otherwise.

    You tag everyone with a retargeting pixel.

    You now have an audience who has heard about you, trusts your brand, and is interested in what you have to say.

    So you sell them your thing and they buy it.

    Fun fact: This is how I sell my React + D3v4 book. Although I need to tidy up some of those funnels because they stopped working.

    Don't be a corporation

    Be funny.

    Use emojis. Use gifs. Use bad grammar.

    Delight your users. Delight your readers.

    Do whatever it takes. Just don't make me feel like I'm talking to a Vogon. When you make reading your emails feel like work, people won't.

    Work is for suckers. Your users aren't suckers.

    Slack is a billion dollar company because their chatrooms are delightful to use. Let that sink in.

    Just because it's not a subscription doesn't mean it won't grow

    The craziest product: Board Gaming Tables.

    The quintessential one-off sale product. How many board gaming tables does a normal person need? Zero. How many does someone with hundreds of board games need? One. Maybe.

    And yet the folks from Board Game Tables are making a killing selling these physical products for a super niche audience.

    Also, that's one of the best product teaser videos I've ever seen. Makes me want a board gaming table even though I have 3 board games, no room, and no time to play.

    The gist of their philosophy is that, look, MRR might be king, but if you set up your SEO and your ads and your brand and word-of-mouth, and they all work, you are going to grow. You can build those channels, you can optimize them, and you can know how many sales you're making next month.

    Because if 5,000 people come to your site every month and you convert at 4%, that's 200 sales per month like clockwork. No recurring revenue required.

    Just look at this video!

    Your product exists to do a job

    People buy your product because they want to improve their life. That is all. Keep it in mind always.

    You can read a full recap of all the MicroConf talks here

    Published on May 10th, 2018 in Learning, Opinions, Personal, Side Projects, Thoughts

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