The last few days have been tough.
In fact, they have been brutal. I’ve felt like a failure. I’ve felt frustrated. I’ve felt confused.
It’s not been a fun couple of days. Just ask my wife.
This morning, I woke up in the with the same “feeling the blues” funk that I’ve had for the last few days. I didn’t want to go to the gym. All I wanted to do was sleep in.
Thankfully, I dragged my sorry ass out of bed, grabbed my iPod and headed out the door. To help boost my spirits, I loaded up some dance tunes that we played at our wedding and took my frustrations out on the weights.
What Has Been Bothering Me?
At this point, you might be wondering what has been bothering me so much, and what this post is about.
Well, keep on reading, because I’m going to tell you just that.
Approximately one year ago, BrightIdeas.co was just six months old and I hadn’t yet begun to monetize. All I was doing was publishing the podcast and writing the occasional blog post. I didn’t really have a solid monetization plan or know the niche I was going after. I knew that I would figure that out as time went by.
Around this time, I got an idea for a software application that would be used my marketing agencies. The application would help them to more efficiently produce and distribute content to their client’s blogs.
To help me create the software, I contacted a friend of mine (Paul) and told him what I had in mind. He was instantly on board and we set out to create a beta product. He figured it would take just a few months. At the time of this writing, the beta product is still not ready…although, we have gone through a few rounds of debugging, and Paul tells me that it’s very very close.
As a result of the application’s development being so far behind schedule, I’m nowhere near where I thought I would be in terms of revenue. My decision to choose marketing agencies and consultants as my niche was largely predicated on my assumption that I’d have a product they could buy…and not just any product…but a quality software product that would generate monthly recurring revenue.
As it stands right now, I don’t have a product, and I don’t have the recurring revenue. Ouch.
How to Generate Revenue Without a Product Ready to Sell
The lack of a primary product (and a lack of revenue) was one of the primary reasons that I decided to write my Digital Marketing Handbook and create Groove Digital Marketing. I needed a way to generate cash and I had zero interest in launching some kind of “make money fast” product like so many other “gurus” are quite happy to do (puke).
Fortunately, the results we achieved were exceptional and between November 1st and January 31st, we generated $53,020.80 in revenue with a pretty good chunk of it being net profit.
With this amount of money coming in the door in just 3 months, you might be thinking, “what’s the problem?”
Houston, We Have a Problem
There isn’t actually just one problem, there are a number of them.
Problem #1 – February’s income forecast is bleak
As good as the last few months were, I still feel a significant financial stress to keep a steady income coming in.
As of this writing, we don’t have our next client in the pipeline. This is the first time this has happened in months. In fact, it’s been just the opposite: since launching Groove, we’ve had as many new clients as we could handle.
My original plan to solve this was to keep promoting my book and my mastermind group; however, my tribe has only so many people in it that want to buy these products, and based upon the results of my last webinar (almost no sales of the book vs. very strong sales on the prior webinar), I’d say that most everyone in my tribe who wants my book has already bought it.
Problem #2 – I’m losing a key employee in less than 90 days
We have a baby due at the end of April and after that Liz won’t be able to work very much for a few months. Being as she has been the one doing the consulting with clients, replacing the income we’ve been getting from her work is a problem I need to solve.
Originally, I wasn’t very worried about the pending dip in consulting revenue because I expected that our software product would have been generating revenue by now. However, as the product isn’t ready yet, revenue is at zero.
Problem #3 – What if the software sucks and no one buys it?
Given how the timing of problems #1 and #2 coincide, I now have a new problem. What if the software sucks and at the end of beta, no one buys it?
With a full year of focusing on the marketing agency niche, I feel pretty invested in it; however, if the software sucks, I really don’t have a “backup plan” for BrightIdeas.co and would be left only with consulting work with people that want to buy Infusionsoft.
That isn’t horrible, by any stretch; however, it also isn’t likely to lead to the steady stream of recurring revenue that I have long been hoping for. (In case you are new to my work and don’t know about my last business, it had $80K a month in recurring revenue and that made for a very nice life!)
There is Always a Solution
I’ve been an entrepreneur long enough to know that there is always light at the end of the tunnel – so long as I keep my positive attitude and I keep taking action.
As they say, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”.
To be a successful entrepreneur, you must be resilient, and I am definitely that. In fact, part of the reason that I’m writing this post is to help me think my way through my current dilemma. Plus, as I have some smart folks in my audience, producing a post like this allows me to “think out loud” and get feedback.
Solution #1 – Be patient
Patience is not one of my strong suits; however, when it comes to the software we are creating for marketing agencies, I still very much believe that we are solving a real problem and I believe that my partner Paul is a brilliant guy who I’m lucky to be in business with. As soon as Paul gets it ready, beta will start and the feedback will come in.
I have already done over 20 calls with agencies to validate the idea, so I’m super confident that the problem is a very real one. What I don’t know yet is if they will pay to solve it. Time will tell.
Solution #2 – Create another recurring revenue product with a very short development cycle
Back at the beginning of November, Liz and I attended PartnerCon, the annual gathering of the community of Infusionsoft certified consultants, and while there, one of the consultants was explaining how she’d used Infusionsoft in a unique way and it had been wildly successful.
I was immediately intrigued and have been thinking about how to replicate her model.
A few weeks ago, I was contacted out of the blue by someone from my tribe and, much to my surprise, he had significant traction in the niche that I wanted to pursue (lawyers) and after our first conference call, we’d both become quite excited about the possibilities for our idea.
The idea, which I’ll keep under wraps for now, would see us offering a service to our clients that would be completely “done for you”, would generate recurring revenue, and would be delivered entirely by Infusionsoft.
By the way, if you were in my mastermind group, you would already know what this idea is because I have shared the details only with that group (who were pretty stoked about it, I might add).
Aaron (my partner on this) has 80 clients in this niche and we have already done a discovery call with one and our idea was very well received. Several more calls are in the works.
The best part about this venture is that we don’t have to write any code at all and the product could be ready in just a few weeks. If you can write in English and can network with others, you could do this, too.
At this point, I’m pretty confident that this new service will become my #1 source of revenue over the next few months.
With a Solution, Comes Another Dilemma
Now we come to the crux of it. What should I do with BrightIdeas.co?
If solution #2 does become very successful, I have little to no need for BrightIdeas.co in its current form. I say this only because I have not focused BrightIdeas.co on the legal services niche, so much of the content here would be of little interest to them.
Groove, on the other hand, doesn’t really have an audience yet, so I don’t see any risk in changing its website to be heavily slanted toward the legal services niche and so we’ve hired a full-time writer to begin blogging there.
As you might guess, I’m not super excited about having two blogs as it’s double the cost and double the work. I plan to only maintain both of them if it’s financially viable to do so.
I Need Your FeedBack to Help Me Plot the Future of BrightIdeas.co
BrightIdeas.co, like any site, has an audience that is made up of two types of people – those who are diehard fans, and those that like it, but wouldn’t lose much sleep if the site didn’t exist.
If you are in the diehard fan group, I need to hear from you.
If you really do love what BrightIdeas.co has to offer, then in the comments below, I’d love for you to tell me:
- what you like most about BrightIdeas.co
- what you currently do for a living
- what you’d like to see improved
Why do I need this feedback so badly? Simple. I love doing the podcast and I love helping people, and in order to improve the quality of my work, I think that I need to get BrightIdeas.co even more focused on a very specific audience and I don’t yet have a clear enough idea of exactly who you are and exactly what you need. I have my suspicions, of course, but who better to tell me than my most loyal readers.
Thank you! You rock!
PS. Once I have your feedback, I’ll be writing another post to share what I’ve learned and the decisions that I’ve made.