Brecht Palombo on Longterm Travel as an Entrepreneur
Brecht and his family left their New Hampshire home and headed out in an Airstream to Austin, Texas. The trip to Austin developed into a plan to be on the road for almost a year. In addition to Texas, their stops included Southern California, Oregon, Idaho. They are back in New Hampshire and planning to hit the road again in about two weeks.
Jordan and his family left New York and flew to San Francisco. Their stops included Berlin, Germany and Denver, Seattle, Portland and Miami. They settled in Portland and have been there for about two years.
Brian and his family are preparing for their trip. They plan to hit the road in September and travel around the country for most of the first year before traveling internationally. They’ll use airbnb for scheduling places to stay.
Travel topics covered include:
• Purging yourself of excess belongings before your trip
• Heavy duty research before you leave and while traveling
• If you need to get your business to a certain state before you leave
• Coworking spaces and how to spend less time working
• Traveling with kids
• Dealing with the pushback from family and friends
Jordan says being an entrepreneur allows you to live an exceptional life and travel brings you closer to your goals for that life. Brecht says that when getting pushback, you should discount what others say about your travel plans, it has no bearing on how it will go for you. He would rather regret having done something than not having done something.
 Product vs. Marketing. Which to Focus on Right Now?
There’s a never-ending battle between Product and Marketing. Where to focus your time and limited resources? There’s never a straightforward answer, but it’s an issue we all have to address on a daily basis.
This week we’re diving into the subject.
Check it out:
Continuing to focus on tweaking my sales funnel. Changed our “middle step” from consultation to register for a live demo (webinar).
Updating credit card info on everything.
I’m hacking the shit out of my outbound sales process. Very excited to let things run in February and measure along the way and then refine it moving forward.
In This Episode…
The balance between working on the product vs. working on marketing:
How do you know the product or the marketing is slipping and needs more attention?
How do you justify the investment into product when it doesn’t directly impact sales?
Is one more important than the other?
Focusing on your strengths vs. investing in weaknesses?
How do you cover product or marketing when you don’t have the resources (money, time, skills)?
Here’s a truth we don’t often admit: working with other people will increase our odds of success. Deal with it.
Today we talk about how solo founders can leverage other people to achieve their goals. Whether you’re trying to launch a product, get traction, or grow faster, working with other people will almost certainly help you make it happen.
Check it out:
Looking to hire a developer.
Firing up a new sales funnel… Lots of pieces to work out.
Finally back in Portland!
I’m looking for a CTO, ideally in the Portland area.
In This Episode…
How to leverage other people as a Solo Founder:
Think beyond yourself and your skills.
ROI of investing in people… What will YOU get to do with more free time?
Getting to launch…
Contractors on project basis.
Find a developer to build it in exchange for a piece of the business.
Get a marketer to drum up demand in exchange for partnership.
YOU need to make this happen – if you can’t do it you’re in trouble.
Do not sit and wait for things to happen.
Understand that your performance now will dictate your options later – act like you’re being watched by an outsider because you probably will be.
Hourly employees / part-time to full time.
Selling the dream to people that you can’t currently afford to hire.
What’s in it for them?
Work on challenging projects
Realize that you have more options than you think you do.
Giving away equity in the business
Giving a share of revenue
Going into debt
Providing less experienced people a place to develop their skills
Adding a new productized service on top of Restaurant Engine, our “Marketing Boost” add-on.
Thinking through different options for CartHook
I see the end of the year as a deadline of sorts. Make a decision on which path to take by the end of the year, and then stick to it for the entire year.
An appropriate quote from Theodore Roosevelt as we find the resolve for the year to come:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
First, some tips for setting Goals this of year:
Start by looking back at your entire year
Especially the beginning of this past year (12 months ago). This really helps you realize how much progress you’ve actually made (probably more than you think).
Keep your list short, but detailed.
It’s OK to take on a few different things over the course of the year, but try to limit it to just a few, I’d say 4 or less items. Then think through the details of what’s actually involved in those things. There should be a couple of items you want to do, but decide you can’t fit them in. That’s OK.
Measurable / Tangible
If your goals are growth related, what are the exact numbers you’re aiming for.
If your goals are launch-related, what exactly will you launch or build.
If your goals are improvements, what can you point to a year from now to decide whether or not you’ve improved?
Start with the end in mind.
Start with where you want to be 12 months from now. What exactly does that look like — Revenue numbers, your team, your product, your work day, your free time. Paint a picture. Then think through what it will take to get there.
Think BIG and push yourself.
There’s a tendency to make your goals as “realistic” and “achievable” as possible. That should be your starting point, and you should stretch it a bit farther. Push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Keep a journal.
I started doing this a little more than a year ago. It helps to look back to old entries to see how your situation and mindset have changed. It gives you a clearer perspective for moving forward.
I’ve been using the Day One app for this. I’m not religious about writing in it, but I do whenever I need to think through a challenging decision.
“Hire key people and focus on processes, and removing the “busy work” from my daily schedule. Within 6 months, my role should dramatically change from what it is today.”
I did this. Hired a sales person to handle all of our inbound consultations. Hired a 2nd support person. Wrote lots of new procedures to remove myself from the work.
“Restaurant Engine on autopilot and growing 3x faster than it is today.”
RE is basically on autopilot. I was able to take vacations and raise our newborn this year while the business operated smoothly.
RE is not growing 3x faster than it was a year ago. Growth rate is about the same or just a little bit better. I focused heavily on systems and delegating, but not enough on new marketing funnels.
“Build a marketing funnel for my first book, Design For Conversions.”
Didn’t happen. Got too busy. Sales still trickle (very low) in with no funnel in place.
Would have liked to create a free crash course or something to funnel traffic toward this product.
Lesson: Build this marketing funnel BEFORE launching the product.
“Write a 2nd book”
It turned out to be a course, instead of a book.
My goal was to earn $10k this year from educational products. Looks like I’ll at least triple that number.
“Refocus on building my audience on casjam.com, and grow my email list to 3000”
Published new articles consistently, about 2 per months, sometimes more.
Published several guest articles.
List today: 4,183
Bonus: Grew the podcast, welcomed Jordan, and reviews/feedback really took off 🙂
Launch CartHook and get paying customers
Create a secondary revenue stream to supplement my income and provide capital to invest in CartHook
Throw my hat in the ring and put myself out there in the public sphere
Goals for 2015:
Build a new marketing funnel for RE/HP that is both profitable and measurable (by June 2015) Then Fully delegate/automate this (by Dec 2015). As a result, monthly revenue should double by end of 2015.
Record some success stories from the first students of Productize. I want to see their businesses meaningfully change during 2015 as a result of the course. I want to end up with at least 5 documented case studies.
Launch Productize 2.0:
Additional section to the course.
Build a repeatable marketing funnel for Productize. Automated marketing, like the free crash course, should bring in $2k/month in revenue. Repeatable marketing, like webinars should bring in at least $5k/month in revenue.
Transition to 75% time spent on casjam.com / audience / Productize… 25% or less on RE/HP. Look ahead to whatever’s next. Whatever that is should directly serve my audience on casjam.com.
FOCUS on one thing – CartHook
Bring CartHook to profitability, hire first full-time employee
Build marketing engine
Nail down a repeatable outbound sales process
Begin content marketing backed up by automated funnels and webinars
Double down on the personal brand side of things with a lot more interviews, podcasts, guest posting, etc.
Grow and learn as an entrepreneur to arm myself with the ammo to get to the next level
Improvements for 2015:
Take more risks and double-down
“What got you here, won’t get you there” – Chase Reeves on Adam Clark’s podcast…
“Have a 2nd and a 3rd entrepreneureal moment” – Ian on TropicalMBA
I need to get better at seeking feedback and guidance from others— especially those who are farther along, or have different experience from me. I constantly struggle with this.
Find more people to work with, stop trying to do everything myself
Continue to push myself to share more in public – more content, more writing