Startup 1: Week 4–30 Day Startup Learnings

Note: 4 Weeks to Launch is an ongoing series about building passive income across multiple startups — a new startup every 4 weeks. Read the first post on 4 Weeks to Launch to get started, or subscribe for weekly updates.

This is the 4th week of my 4-week-old startup, JFDI.Ninja. I’ve faced a lot of bumps with getting up and running, both with JFDI.Ninja and 4 Weeks to Launch. I’ve learned a lot, both in what to do next time and also what not to do. Thanks for all the support in keeping me going with 4 Weeks to Launch!

JFDI.Ninja lives on!

JFDI.Ninja is up and running smoothly and with little maintenance. I estimate to get about 1000 unique visitors a month, though it may be lower depending on backlinks and SEO.

Only installed Google Analytics part way through, after launch.

Last week I hired a virtual assistant. All new tasks will be forwarded to him, with me doing review. We’ll see how it goes, but ultimately I built the business that solved the problem for me. If JFDI.Ninja gets more traffic I will set up the Google Form to go directly to Slack. By having multiple virtual assistants working on the tasks in Slack I can scale quickly.

Review of last week: scrappy marketing

Do what you like to do. I’ve been trying to beat myself into doing marketing and having little effectiveness. DON’T DO THIS! Figure out any way to not do what you don’t want to do. Hire someone, delegate, automate or work around it. I knew this in my head but sometimes you have to go through something painful to internalize it.

I don’t like scrappy marketing. So what do I do next time? Find something that is easier and more my pace. This means focusing on referability, or low paid acquisition cost. Referability relates to the product (I like) and paid acquisition relates to funnel optimization (something I also like). Commenting, cold messaging, and reddit-ing are all things I don’t like so I just won’t do them. Delegation at it’s finest is just effective laziness.

I had a friend email me with suggestions for marketing and thought I’d share since I found it useful:

  • [don’t] do adwords/fb ads at least until your know the LTV of the customer since your price is so low.
  • …advertise on entrepreneur fb groups. message the moderator to let them know the service and sometimes they will send out a message to the group about it.
  • reddit ads may be a good option since impression are so incredibly cheap.

T-Dog McAwesome ← that’s a real last name

JFDI.Ninja postmortem

What is a postmortem? Postmortem is a term popularized by startups. After completing a project the team discusses what went wrong (hopefully it’s not over a dead body).

  • Business was solving a “generic problem”.
    • A business should solve a specific problem for people
    • Isolate a specific pain (save money on cellphone overages), and target that with branding/ads
  • No “launch strategy”
    • Make plan on where to “launch” product for initial users. Be specific with links, audience sizes. Can delegate
  • No shareability
    • Add “share” buttons everywhere
  • Add testimonials from day 1
    • Testimonials give immediate credibility to a product
    • Get friends to give you testimonials so you have them on Day 1 or fake them until you have real ones
  • 24 hours is exhausting; moving to 48 hours
    • Don’t make a product that is stressful to produce. If it is, hire someone to be stressed for you.
  • Use google forms from day 1
    • Spreadsheets > Email.
  • Establish how to invoice from day 1
    • Billing through paypal ended up being another chore. Make sure you know how you will invoice/collect and make it painless

Metrics & goals

  1. See Metrics for JFDI.ninja
  2. See Metrics for 4 Weeks to Launch
  3. Week 2 Revenue: $6

4 Weeks to Launch vs JFDI.Ninja

If I’m honest with myself JFDI.Ninja wasn’t the focus of month 1–it was 4 Weeks to Launch. I’m working to build a sustainable system for launching businesses. Businesses are my goal and my product, and JFDI.Ninja was just that. I’m proud of what I’ve done in 1 month but also know that there’s a ton of more work to do. I’m excited to build off of what I’ve learned in the first month and push startup #2 further. I have big plans for it, and will teaming up with 2 people (one of whom does marketing!) for it.

The Ask

  • What do you hope to learn by reading 4 Weeks to Launch?
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10 responses to “Startup 1: Week 4–30 Day Startup Learnings”

  1. Caleb Lee says:

    Awesome stuff brother!

    Can’t wait to see the next startup. I’m in the process of creating a start up as well. Something that is solving my own problems of handling tax receipts/invoices in my emails.

    Thanks heaps for the inspiration!

    Blessings,
    Caleb

    • Caleb, can you elaborate on your problem that you mentioned above? I’m a CPA who works with startups, and your mention of tax receipts/invoices made my CPA ears perk up.

      Jonathan I Godwin, CPA

      • Caleb says:

        Hi Jonathan!

        Sure thing! The problem I was having was having to filter through my emails and download invoices and receipts as PDF’s and then rename it to include the date, company and price. I would then categorise it on my computer to prepare it for my bookkeeper/accountant. It just took much of my time.

        I have created an online app that connects to my email and automatically saves invoices/receipts as PDF’s to my computer, renames the files and I have the option to automatically send the files to my bookkeeper.

        I’m working on some other features as well. That’s awesome you work with start ups! How long have you been doing that for?

        Blessings,
        Caleb

    • Elijah Murray says:

      Thanks for the support Caleb! Awesome to see other people working on building companies, and even cooler to see Jonathan as being your potential first user!

  2. Andy says:

    Congratulations on the first month! I really like the idea of 4 weeks to launch, and what you want to achieve with the startups – especially as I see parallels to a book I’m just reading (“The 4 hour week” from Timothy Ferris)

    What I really would like to know: Where do you get the idea what you are building next? As you say, a business should solve a specific problem for people – but how do you identify those problems? Mostly I find it easy to come up with a solution to a specific problem. identifying such a problem though, feels like I’m not seeing the wood for the trees.

    Keep up the good work, I’ll definitely keep an eye on it 🙂

    • Elijah Murray says:

      Tim Ferriss has always been a huge inspiration for me; I even spoke to him before deciding to go to college (and ultimately dropping out 😉).

      Coming up the with an idea is definitely a tough thing. I wrote a bit about it in an earlier post (http://4weekstolaunch.com/startup-1-week-1/) but you’re not the only one who’s had questions about this.

      One thing I’d suggest is get in the habit of watching people and noticing problems. Don’t look solutions, just problems. Keep a list on your phone and get good at spotting problems. Eventually you’ll see that some problems are bigger or more painful than others–at that point, you can start talking to people about solutions.

      I’ll make sure to write more about this in the future!

  3. Equally valuable is the pre-mortem to help foresee what might go wrong and the steps leading to failure or setback.

  4. Elijah, thanks for keeping us posted. I love following your stories about these startups. I knew when I found your Medium stories that you would be learning so much with each startup and that you’d share what those things were. Man, you’re impacting so many people by telling us what happened and what you discovered along the way. That’s how entrepreneurs do it, my friend!

    Can’t wait for the next one! Good luck with JFDI. Ninja!

    Jonathan