“Fattening” Your Company and… Freemium?

Welcome back to Bootstrapped Web! Today we share progress reports about our respective businesses and ask the question, “Should you go freemium or not?”

Jordan has begun the process of “fattening” up Carthook’s systems to add value to the company and move the business to the next stage. Carthook is also growing their team and there have been some growing pains in the communication process. There have been some hard lessons in the process that Jordan hints at that could help business owners build their systems more effectively.

Brian has been putting a lot of energy and time into Ops Calendar. He is getting a lot of interest in the service and the product. This new interest has given him a reason to ask the question if freemium is a viable option for Audience Ops.

There is some really useful and thoughtful discussion in today’s episode, so tune in to join the conversation.

Here are today’s conversation points:

  • The “fattening up” process of Carthook.
  • The struggles of building an effective team.
  • Audience Ops and Ops Calendar progress reports.
  • Ops Calendar’s features and fixing the unexpected bugs.
  • The usefulness of Slack.
  • The benefits of letting  people “win.”
  • Working with freelancers and building a positive business culture around them.
  • Jordan’s marketing experiments and the results.
  • The pros and cons of freemium.

Resources Mentioned Today:

Audience Ops Calendar

Carthook

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a review on iTunes.

First Customer Demos, Paid Marketing Funnels, Team Communication

We have both reached a turning point in our marketing campaigns. Jordan has launched a new marketing funnel for Carthook’s Shopify tool. Brian has been running a new marketing campaign for Ops Calendar. We share how the campaigns are working for us and offer each other advice on how to improve our strategies. We also discuss how we keep our team culture positive when we ourselves are super busy and can’t give our undivided attention to individual projects. Our teams are growing and changing and we explore how we are coping with these mostly positive developments. It’s a good time for both Ops Calendar and Carthook!

Here are today’s conversation points:

  • Carthook’s new paid marketing campaign.
  • Ops Calendar is finding a new audience and why Brian is excited by this.
  • How Brian uses and makes sense of Audience Ops’ analytics and metrics.
  • How Jordan set up his marketing campaign.
  • Jordan’s 3 blog post marketing strategy.
  • Other insights into email and ad marketing.
  • How we differ in our methods of team building and encouraging positive company culture.

Resources Mentioned Today:

Audience Ops

Carthook

Ops Calendar

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

Pricing Page Teardown, Employee Onboarding, Company Transparency

Today on Bootstrapped Web Jordan and Brian discuss what’s going on in their individual businesses.

Brian is setting up Ops Calendar and takes today’s episode as a chance to get Jordan’s feedback from the customer’s point of view. Listeners who are interested in Ops Calendar can get excited because Brian gives a detailed description of what his service offers.

Jordan has had some problems with retaining new team members. He shares what he has learned about the hiring process and how he keeps company morale high. He also shares a new service he has found for businesses who hire team members in different states and he is psyched by his results.

Here are today’s conversation points:

  • The benefits of providing hardware and tools to your remote team members.
  • The role trust plays in working with a remote team.
  • Ops Calendar is going live!
  • Jordan’s advice to Brian regarding Ops Calendar’s structure.
  • What Ops Calendar can do for each tier.
  • Why a business should always be recruiting.
  • The importance of staying positive when business isn’t going as expected.
  • How much transparency is too much?
  • Why the service Officeengine is awesome!

Resources Mentioned Today:

Carthook

Ops Calendar

Officeengine

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

Catching up! Managing Runway, Marketing Assets & Team Growth

Welcome back to Bootstrapped Web! We took a bit of hiatus this summer but we have some great updates and insights to share from our time away. Jordan has grown his team from 4 to 11 people. He shares how the change has impacted how they do business and work internally. Brian has finally taken a full step back from Audience Ops and can now focus on Ops Calendar. He gives the audience an update on his progress and why he thinks he should have backed off sooner.

We also discuss Big Snow Tiny Conf and the changes the startup world has had to adjust to with the current state of the financial sector. We have some really deep conversation about what it means to run a SaaS business during this episode, so tune in. It’s great to be back!  

Here are today’s conversation points:

  • Our vacation times.
  • Big Snow Tiny Conf.
  • Jordan’s bigger and better team.
  • The benefits of having a “marketing manager.”
  • Brian’s step back from Audience Ops, and why he wishes he did it sooner.
  • The update on Ops Calendar.
  • The reality of running a SaaS business.
  • How the financial choices for startups have gotten a lot grayer over time.

If you are interested in Big Snow Tiny Conf, there is a link below. As usually there will be two events in 2018. The Sugarbush Mountain, Vermont conference will be January 22-25 and the Beaver Creek, Colorado conference will February 5-8. To get tickets to these events you need to be a part of the email list so check out the link to get your name on our list.

Resources Mentioned Today:

Audience Ops

Big Snow Tiny Conf

Carthook

Ops Calendar

Runway

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a review in iTunes.

 

SaaS Momentum, Servicing Demand, & Why Amazon Bought WholeFoods

We cover a lot in this episode of Bootstrapped Web. We give our listeners an update on both companies’ progress and we discuss some exciting news in the startup world. Brian shares some of the goals he has for Audience Ops in the near future. Jordan has an awesome story to share about his new VIP client.  We compare our business needs and consider the unexpected problems that come with growth.

We also discuss two really insightful articles that just came out, Amazon’s New Customer, by Ben Thompson and Why I Bought Your Software by Justin Jackson. Both articles are great reads and we have some good takeaways from them.

Here are today’s conversation points:

  • Jordan’s new VIP customer.
  • Ben Thompson’s latest article.
  • The Amazon and Whole Foods merger.
  • Why the merger is a good thing.
  • Lessons Jordan has learned from his new hire.
  • The benefits of mastermind groups.
  • The biggest expense for any growing company.
  • How do you know when you’ve reached “feature completeness?”
  • Brian’s Ops Calendar update.
  • Justin Jackson’s latest article.
  • Seeking Wisdom with David Cancel.

Resources Mentioned Today:

Amazon’s New Customer, by Ben Thompson

Audience Ops

Carthook

Drift

Front App

Intercom

Ops Calendar

Seeking Wisdom

Why I Bought Your Software, by Justin Jackson

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

A Formula for Individual Success Metrics + Building a Hiring Engine

Happily, our client loads are increasing, but our staffs are starting to feel the increased workload. So, we need to hire more people to keep up. It’s a good problem to have. On today’s episode, we compare our staffing needs and discuss how we are trying to build a process that frees us both up for “CEO tasks.”  As our businesses grow, our roles change.

Brian shares his plans to cope with a couple of team members exiting the company. While Jordan recently spent some time away with his family. He shares how that trip changed how he looks at his team and responsibilities to the company.

Here are today’s conversation points:

  • The uptake in business for Audience Ops.
  • Brian’s plan to cope with the increased workload.
  • Filling team positions for growth at Audience Ops.
  • The ups and downs of working with a remote team.
  • Jordan’s recent trip to New York.
  • The “performance equation:” performance= potential – interference.
  • How the performance equation has helped Jordan look at Carthook’s growth differently.
  • How difficult it can be to transition into the “CEO role.”

Resources Mentioned Today:

Audience Ops

Carthook

Productize

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

KPI Dashboards, Hiring Sales vs. Customer Success, & Solo Founders

Today Brian and Jordan discuss growth. In Jordan’s case he is dealing with sudden growth, and in Brian’s case, he is planning for growth. Both share how they are handling this wonderful problem.

Jordan has been focused on getting Carthook’s marketing up and running again, but it has become clear that his team needs him to focus on improving the customer support. It has been a struggle to really pinpoint what the team needs. Jordan calls it “customer success,”  but Brian isn’t so sure that’s the best title for the position.

Brian is working on his KPI (Key Performance Indicators.) While making the dashboard for these KPI, he learned that sometimes you need to just hire someone. Brian is also planning to do some hiring, he needs two project managers and a writer. He caps off today’s topics with an article from the website Baremetrics.

Here are the conversation points:

  • Brian’s four major categories for his KPI.
  • When to know you need to hire someone.
  • Jordan’s ever-growing stress.
  • Jordan’s undefinable job description.
  • What does “customer success” mean?
  • What Jordan needs for this new position.
  • The importance of taking care of “home base.”
  • Brian’s hiring needs.
  • Josh Pigford’s blog post.

Resources Mentioned Today:

Being a Solo Founder: Pros, Cons, Tips, and Tricks, by Josh Pigford

Audience Ops

Carthook

Ops Calendar

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

 

Customer Overwhelm, Hiring & Firing Teammates

We are both hitting some major growth right now in our businesses, and that means a lot of excitement and a lot of restructuring. We talk about project managing, hiring the right people, and the efforts we are putting into our marketing and lead generation.

Jordan recently went to Europe and met up with his team. He tells us how the trip went and the exciting milestone he saw while working with the Carthook team in Europe.  Jordan has also had some people leave the company. He explains why they had to go and how he plans to bounce back.

Carthook’s marketing has stalled because of a sudden flux of customers, Jordan discusses his concerns and how he plans to fix the problem.

Brian has really sunk into his Facebook ad campaign. He is working to generate leads for Audience Ops and filter people into a funnel that will lead potential clients to a consultation. He explains the 3 step ad campaign and shares how it is working for him.

Brian is also hiring some new people and offers some advice for Jordan regarding his marketing problems.

Here are our conversation points:

  • Jordan’s trip to Europe.
  • Brian’s Facebook ad campaign.
  • Brian’s current hiring needs.
  • How to create evergreen content for lead generation.
  • Jordan’s concern about customer support quality.
  • The “2 worlds” of Carthook.
  • Why Trello isn’t working for Jordan and his team.
  • How to discern what is urgent in your business.
  • What are the expectations of a Project Manager?
  • The difficulties of firing team members.
  • Brian’s podcast relaunch.
  • The 3 phases of online software.
  • How to build a brand online.

Resources Mentioned Today:

Appointment

Audience Ops

Calendly

Carthook

CasJam

Expert Secrets by: Russell Brunson

Facebook

Help Scout

Intercom

Seeking Wisdom

Trello

War of Art by: Steven Pressfield

Weworkremotely.com

Zendesk

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

 

YouTube Content, Creating Webinars, Team Retreats

We are back discussing our businesses and the progress that we have been making. On the personal front Jordan is heading off to Europe and Slovenia to work and hit the beach. Brian has been getting healthier with the BulletProof diet.

Brian has been recording new episodes for his Productized podcast. He is hiring one person to take care of the editing, shownotes, social stuff, and posting. He is also trying to make two videos a week. He is also launching the Sell to Strangers webinar for his funnel.

Jordan plans to get a lot of work done in Slovenia including writing a script for a webinar. He also wants to finish up the documentation for product including video. Jordan feels that he needs to go a little harder on his marketing and create more desire.

Here are today’s conversation points:

  • Brians Productized podcast and his video progress.
  • Jordans list of things he wants to do for his business while in Slovenia.
  • Writing scripts for webinars.
  • Making a public calendar or roadmap to help hold yourself accountable.
  • Education for products has two parts – how to use the product, and how to get the most out of using it.
  • Using webinars for funnel content.
  • How Click Funnels grew off the back of one webinar Steal My $17,000 a Day Funnel.
  • Case studies and client interviews and the wins possible.
  • Marketing to marketers for Jordan’s business.
  • The project manager side of Audience Ops.
  • Breaking down processes and putting the right people in the right positions.

Resources Mentioned Today:

Carthook

Audience Ops

Ops Calendar

Calendly

Productize Podcast

Baremetrics

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

Back from MicroConf! More Signups! Facebook Ads Funnels!

We are back from MicroConf and on this episode we share our takeaways and also update the important things going on in our businesses.

Jordan shares how Russ Henneberry’s MicroConf talk encouraged him to look at his business differently. After this episode you may not look at funnels the same way again.

Brian explains how MicroConf often helps him refocus his priorities. He has plans to reconnect with his personal brand and create some new engaging content. We discuss how he can do that.

MicroConf has been an educational experience for both of us and we have some really good take aways that we discuss today. We also have some general updates about our businesses. Surprisingly, we both are having issues with our marketing. We compare situations and see if we have something that could be helpful to the other person.

Here are today’s conversation points:

  • How MicroConf changed Jordan’s approach to funnels.
  • Content marketing updates.
  • Why you should know why your customers use your product.
  • Brian’s update about Audience Ops and Casjam.
  • Jordan’s new hires.
  • The importance of improving SOPs.
  • The natural progress toward corporate structuring. Why it is inevitable.
  • Our marketing successes and woes.

Resources Mentioned Today:

Audience Ops

Ops Calendar

Carthook

CasJam

MicroConf

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.