This is the graph of our revenue 4 days after launch:
This is the graph of our revenue 7 days after launch:
What are we doing with that money? Taking it and pouring it into our Notion website builder, a completely different business. Why...? Stick with me.
Since these milestones did well on Twitter, we wanted to go a bit deeper into why/how/etc. Let me explain what I want to do in this article (and also give you a table of contents):
I cheekily made this first post, announcing a 'thread':
Tweet #2, as you might or might not have seen, just says "Build distribution, before you build product".
And frankly, that's pretty much it. I don't have any magic secret to share. I wish I would have a golden nugget, and I know there is a lot of marketing/business potential in claiming you've got one.
But ultimately that's what we've done: we've built an audience for a long time, before we launched this product.
And by a long time I mean something like 4 years, although it's been 2 years since we've started a business. In the first 2, we didn't set out to build a business, quite frankly (full story in the link).
The product (and it probably is a bad idea to disclose this so much later in the post, but hey, here we are learning as we go) is authenticate.legitcheck.app.
Here's the irony: given what it does, it's... probably not for you 😶
What does it do? We authenticate luxury items: sneakers, clothing, bags, watches, collectibles, etc. People put in an order and upload pictures upon checking out — we put out a verdict ('fake' or 'real')
But here's what you'd find out if you go on to that: there's 2 ways you can pay.
A one-off charge, or a subscription offering. So in all honesty: the MRR/ARR we've shared above is just what people pay for the right-hand-side option: the Legit Check Club (more in a sec).
I've just checked the numbers and about 25% of people go for the subscription. I honestly expected more to go for that, but hey — the market is right, not me.
With the Legit Check Club, I've scratched my head for more than 6 months to come up with this:
So it's a subscription offering (not a fantastically simple one, but one that is as simplified as I could've made it) where I've drawn inspiration from all the subscriptions out there that I could've seen successful:
2 main things here. Thing #1
For whatever reason (what we read, what we think, etc), we sometimes have different notions for:
We imagine it's this streak of events that can happen, and then X event multiplies it, but we work really hard to do Y, blah blah blah.
It's not really like that.
As much as movies are entertaining, I think it's one of the most counterproductive things to think as if you're in a movie. And be honest with yourself: very few people do that consciously. Are you doing it in any way unconsciously?
Are you in any way looking at the film reel of your life? Sure, that's a useful thing to consider when building your image, but that's the few minutes you spend writing a tweet — do it too much, and it's insidious.
My case: we've built our user base: day in, day out. Day in, day out.
It wasn't glamorous, but it wasn't as hard as I might've have imagined either (I tried my best to not imagine it in any way. In my good days, I succeeded, in my worse days, I failed). It just was. Day in, day out.
Thing #2: a neighbouring thought — you don't need to have it figured out.
And you've heard that before, I'm sure, but hearing is not internalizing it.
Most of the time (once again, be honest with yourself: look deeply inside), the need of knowing how this will play out is slowing us down.
My case: we built our user base first because of the flexibility we knew we'd have from that moment onward. Have I figured out authenticate.legitcheck.app then? Not at all.
Have I figured out that offering people a subscription with more for less might be something that offers us more financial comfort, because recurring revenue is easier to predict? Not at all.
See where I'm going?
There's an unwritten rule/agreement on the internet. Actually, scratch that. Not just on the internet. In LIFE.
The agreement is: whatever advice somebody tells you, even if it's imperative, just make sure you understand that before/after there's a 'this is what I believe to the best of my knowledge, and if I'm in my best shape, I will not be attached to my opinion'.
Or so I like to think.
That'll be the case here as well.
The thing is, I can't see any way you can create your product's distribution without creating some form of content sooner or later. Even if it's a partnership — you have to announce it, right?
Find your strengths, test everything, see what works, double down on that
With every group of people that join your party, it's easier to make the next 'party' (i.e. release, launch, announcement, update, etc) better. Create ties with these people. You don't need to overdo it, they don't need to love you as if you're a rockstar.
The whole point is just this: if you already have 100 people on your list, it's nicer to release something to 100 people, rather than to 0.
If you have co-founders, or even employees, scale that process to them. Work on the business, not only in the business.
It's not like every move you make has to be perfect, or guaranteed. Just try it out, see what happens, and you'll be surprised more often than not. Case in point: I never thought I'd try building in public, but it turns out that it works, if I do it within my boundaries (see what I wrote above about a 2-in-1)
I used to wince at people who do that, but then I understood the tactical advantage of doing it. It's a weird analogy, but let me put it this way. Let's say your success is a 100% — 1 out of 1, right?
If you leave it like that and do nothing, it's still 100%
If, however, you try to echo it, you make it a 140%, a 180% or maybe even more. You make more out of the same thing. Obviously, don't overdo it.
A few examples of what I mean by echo:
The most beautiful part? If one of your echoes becomes strong enough to gain success on its own, you can... you get it now — echo it further.
Example: let's say you've reached a milestone of 10 users. That's great, that's 100%
But then you write an article about how to get 10 users, with an audience of 0, in 2021, as a technical person. That becomes top 10 on HackerNews. Possible echoes:
See where I'm going?
Try to stack one success on top of the other one. See how far you can go with the chain. But make sure you don't overdo it.
What's next for us is pretty simple: we'll reinvest the money we have. I'm 23 and my brother is 17 — our aim is to create a platform of wealth for our family.
We might turn our MRR into ARR with the PLETHORA of new tools out there, such as FounderPath, Pipe, Capchase etc. Given the nature of our project, we're hardcore bootstrappers here — we believe we can do it ourselves, and these new funding methods seem attractive, given that we wouldn't give away equity.
At the same time, I think this project has a floor — I don't see it making more than a few million a year, at best. So what are we doing about it?
We're building a separate product in parallel: a Notion website builder called Simple.ink. I guess I can talk more some other time about my plan and what 'platform of wealth' means, but I've got a few thing I like about this business, if it works, like:
Anyway, that's the other project. Back to this one: we'll keep on doing our best with extending what we've got, but at the same time we'll be focusing on solving our BIGGEST challenge. What is that, you might say? Let me put it this way:
If you know how to make more out of this potential user base, hit me up. Until then, I'll look to divest from this project.
P.S: Bonus content — if you made it all the way 'til down here, you'll love this:
Ch Daniel is the co-founder of Simple.ink and chairman of the CH Group. Daniel is leading the development of new products of Simple.ink, as well as strategising how else the company can reach its main mission: empowering 1M+ people to build using simpler no-code tools.